Scripture Reading: Job 30:1-32:22 / Matthew 22:15-46 / Psalm 18:16-24
A few years ago the Chicago University of Illinois Hospital offered a program called Heart check America. It was a heart-screening program that measured your cardiovascular risk factors. With the information gained through the screening, you could reduce your odds of having a heart attack. If there was anything of immediate significance, it could be addressed before it became a major issue.
Not only do our physical hearts need examination, our spiritual hearts also need to be examined. Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest and He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
The heart, soul and mind were to be evaluated by the presence of love… a love for God. Jesus was referring to God’s commandment given by Moses to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus uses the Greek word “agape” for love in Matthew and it is a love of the will and purpose. It is a committed love that is dedicated to love unconditionally. It is not a love founded upon friendship or common bonds. Neither is it a physical or emotional love.
It is not a love of complacency or affection. It is not a love driven by our need for a desired object nor is it an impulse of our feelings. This is the highest kind of love that one doesn’t just feel but commits despite the presence or absence of feelings. We are not to robotically love God without any feelings but we are to commit to love God despite our feelings. This is the noblest, purist and highest kind of love we can ever display.
It is a love that binds lasting covenants. A devotional love that commits to faithfulness and permanence recognizing you are no longer your own but you belong to someone else. This type of love for God is to be found in our hearts. Our hearts are the core of our identity and the seat of our understanding, affections and emotions. God is to have the exclusive position of priority and be firmly established as our first place love.
Our soul, the seat of our will, includes the totality of our personality. It is “who” we are as a person. Our entire focus and mission is to love God unconditionally. Our mind has been described as the most private parts of our being as it contains our intellect, thoughts and reasonings. A love for God is to direct all facets of our mind.
Jesus declared that love for God was the greatest single commandment and was the capstone of our relationship with Him. This type of “Agape” love was to direct a person’s complete life – their heart, soul and mind. When Agape love is present, God takes precedence and priority in our lives. He loved us first before we first loved Him and because of that…there is nothing greater than loving Him!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!