Commands of Christ
Love the Lord
Where is this command found?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
Applying This Command
Jesus identified this command as the first and greatest one of all, and the second is like unto it: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31). This is true because every other command or teaching in the Bible is simply an application of these two commands. Jesus affirmed this when He stated, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). All other Scriptures must therefore be interpreted on the basis of how they teach us to love God and one another.
First of all, loving God means that we must respond to His marvelous grace by devoting all our affections, our thoughts, our wills, and our strength to Him and to those things that delight His heart. It means that we dedicate our bodies to Him and purpose to lay down our lives for Him and the advancement of His kingdom, because “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It means that we detect and renounce every competing affection, such as loving money, loving the world, or loving our own lives, because we know that to love these things is to make us an enemy of God. (See James 4:1–8.)
Bible Verses for Meditation
In addition to meditation on Matthew 22:37–38, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Love the Lord.
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
I John 5:3
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?”
I John 4:19
“We love him, because he first loved us.”
“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
A: Loving God with all our hearts means that we respond to His grace by devoting all our affections, thoughts, wills, and strength to Him and to those things that delight His heart. It means that on a daily basis we must present our bodies as living sacrifices and yield our members to Him to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (See Romans 12:1.)
Our love for God is expressed by our obedience to Him. Since He is the One Who tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and tells wives to respect and honor their husbands, those who do this are effectively loving God by loving their spouses. (See Ephesians 5:22–29.)
When we love God with all our hearts, we do not need to divide our love between God and others; instead, God uses us to demonstrate His love to others. Therefore, if a married couple wants to truly love each other, they must first love the Lord with all their hearts.
For Further Study
You can learn more about the command Love the Lord in the book Commands of Christ: Series 6.
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