Today I wanted to focus on a very significant question: What is the most important thing that you and I should be focused on every day of our lives? And in my humble opinion the answer to that question is: We should be focused on loving God.
I base that opinion upon something that Jesus said. Jesus, the son of God—Jesus, God in the flesh—said that the most important commandment is that we love God (see Luke 10:27). So that’s obviously extremely significant. I want to take note that Jesus didn’t just stop there, but He said that we should love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. So obviously by adding those specifics He’s telling us something about the degree to which we should be loving God.
Now, everybody loves somebody to some degree, and when you think about it, even if you love somebody a little bit there’s going to be some evidence of that love, right? Of course, if there’s no evidence of that love, there’s no love. A person who says, “I love you,” but shows no other evidence for this claim than just that verbal profession could very well be and probably is just fooling themselves.
But we probably all know people we love very much, to a much higher degree than just a little bit. People like our spouses if we’re married, or your boyfriend or girlfriend if you have one of those. Maybe your mother and father or your children. Those are the people that we naturally tend to love more than anybody else. Of course. Because we love them, there’s evidence for that love. We’re trying to please those people and we’re focused on those people. We don’t just have casual relationships with those people. We have much more intimate relationships. They’re much more important to us than other people. We prioritize them above other people, right? Right. Okay.
So back to the commandment now. Jesus said we should love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. So obviously, He’s conveying that we should love God supremely, right? More than anybody else, and we should love Him passionately because we love Him with all of our heart. And we should be thinking about Him a lot because we love Him with all of our mind. We should be doing things that we know please Him with our bodies because we’re to love Him with all of our strength.
So, if we really love God as He should be loved and He deserves to be loved, it’s going to show up in our lives in a big way. That’s what I want to get across so crystal clear. You can’t really have a casual relationship with God. If you’re half-hearted in your relationship with God, something is really wrong and it might be even ‘wronger’ than you imagine. Because there are a lot of people who are deceived, thinking they’ve got a relationship with God when they don’t really have any relationship with Him at all.
The Scriptures speak of such people, that they profess to know God but by their deeds, they deny Him. That is, they’re not loving Him with all their strength. Their bodies aren’t being engaged in the kind of things that He says that they should be doing with their bodies, and so that’s an indication they don’t really, really love Him.
All right, so what is it going to look like if you love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? Well, obviously if you love God supremely, if He’s the center of your life, the center of your affections, it’s going to show up every day and all day long. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). So there’s the supreme test of whether we love God or not, or whether we’re just fooling ourselves. Do we keep His commandments? In order to keep His commandments, we have to know His commandments, so we’d be obviously diving into His Word to see what we can learn about what He expects of us.
You know, Jesus does expect and He does deserve to be loved supremely as God. He at one time said “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37). So you see He expects to be loved more than the people that we naturally love the most. Of course, only God deserves that kind of love and commitment.
In another place Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26, emphasis added). Of course, nobody thinks that Jesus literally meant that we ought to be hating those people, because other parts of Scripture tell us we should be loving those people. At bare minimum Christ is trying to show us that our love for Him has got to be supreme.
When we compare our love for Christ with our love for the people we naturally love the most, well, then it’s evident by our lifestyle, by our practices, that we love Jesus the most. Our love for Him compared to our love for them makes our love for them almost look like hatred because He’s so preeminent in our lives.
That is what God wants. It’s what God deserves, and that’s what we ought to be focused on more than anything else every single day of our lives.