34 When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
28 One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which command is the most important of all?” 29 “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 31 “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to Him, “You are right, Teacher! You have correctly said that He is One, and there is no one else except Him. 33 And to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question Him any longer.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love you neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
L is for the way you look at me.
O is for the only one I see.
V is very, very extraordinary.
E is even more than anyone that you adore can.
Love is a simple little word with a whole lot of meaning behind it. Embedded within it is so much complexity, hope, healing, and more.
First John 4:7-8 says God is love, so it’s no surprise that the greatest commands He gave us center around that one four-letter word.
So here it is—the moment you’ve been waiting for. The greatest commands of all time—spoken by Jesus himself: 1) love God and 2) love people.
That’s it. Plain and simple. Every head bowed and every eye closed before the Lord. I’ll give the invitation now. Or not. Because it’s not that simple, is it? After thousands of years, we’re still flawed and therefore flummoxed by it.
Scripture says everything depends on these two commands. Everything. They’re packed with power. They’re rich and full. The commands are simple, but we make them more than complex. So let’s unpack it and go deeper.
What does it look like to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (plus strength, per Mark’s version)?
It’s not just saying it with your mouth and following it up with a good deed. It’s committing your will, affections, and understanding to Him—your physical, emotional, and mental capacities—every fiber of your being.
It’s a passionate, fierce, unwavering allegiance to the Most High. It’s a promise to remain faithful when your circumstances lure you in the opposite direction. It’s trusting He knows best even when you don’t understand.
Like marriage, it’s for better or worse, for richer or poorer. It’s committing your life to Him in covenant and placing Him above all else—above your spouse, children, job, desires, stuff, status, relationships, culture, experiences, feelings, knowledge, everything.
But wait, there’s more. The second command is like the first: love people just like you love yourself.
Ewww. Yuck. Ouch. Uncomfortable. Who wants to do that in a self-saturated society like ours? It’s easier to just mind our own business. It’s easier to plug our headphones in and tune the world out. It’s easier to avoid eye contact and pretend we didn’t see them.
But it must be done because it’s important to Him. And what’s important to Him should be important to us.
All obedience begins with a fierce love for Jesus first. That means you put you aside. You take a step back in line and let Him lead. Then you take another step back and get out of the way so others can get closer and see Him clearly.
So there you have it. Love God. Love people. Simple enough, right?
- Find a place where you can be alone. Journal what it looks like for you to love God so much that you give Him all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- If God is love, what should love look like in your life?
- You knew it was coming—last but not least. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Ask yourself how you can better love the people God has placed in your life—from strangers to neighbors to family to co-workers to friends.