I’m on Day 11 of reading through the New Testament in 30 days and I discovered that “they” tricked me! It’s not really 30 days of reading, it’s 20 days! Saturday and Sunday are make up days in case you miss a day. Which is good, because I needed more time last week and got all caught up on Saturday. So “they” call it Day 11, however technically it’s really day 7.
No matter what the day, today’s reading has been my favorite so far I think. Mark, James, and Galatians are the books I read today. I could write a book myself on all that is rich in the book of James. It’s my favorite of all I think. It’s short and I encourage you to read it today if you can. It doesn’t take long and it is jam packed with very helpful, life applicable info that is both encouraging and convicting. Although there is much to highlight in both James and Galatians, I’m going to leave them alone today and look at a few verses in the 12th chapter of Mark.
Let’s look at something Jesus said in Mark. He was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28b) To which Jesus replied,
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
Now if Jesus is going to make a statement like that, my ears perk up and I’m listening. But I don’t stop there. I can’t. How many times have I heard Jesus ask His disciples did they still not get it??? I don’t want to be one who doesn’t “get it”, so after I listen to what Jesus says, I have to ask myself some questions:
Do I love God with all my heart?
Do I love God with all my soul?
Do I love God with all my mind?
Do I love God with all my strength?
Do I love my neighbor as myself?
Now if you just asked me the first half of those questions (Do I love God? Do I love my neighbor?), the answer is easy. Yes maam I do! No doubt about it. But do I love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Ooh, I’m not sure I want to go there.
I am not pointing this out to make myself or anyone else feel bad about not loving God or your neighbor enough. I point this out because I truly believe there is always room to love more.
These 2 commandments that Jesus gives summarize all God’s laws. These 2 commandments should rule our thoughts, decisions, and actions. (Life Application Bible) When we take these commandments into consideration it really does help in deciding what God wants us to do. Try it and see. If it’s a big enough deal for Jesus to say “There is no commandment greater than these” then it’s a big enough deal for me to pay attention and examine my actions to see if they line up with that.
How about you? What are your thoughts? How do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? How do you love your neighbor as yourself?