Jesus was a thorn in the side of religious people. The Sadducees, a Jewish sect not believing in the resurrection of the dead and the Pharisees who demonstrated faith by traditions, living according to rituals for dress, jewelry, hair as well as many religious holidays held no love for Christ. A self-important Pharisee tested Christ questioning, “…which is the greatest commandment of the law?” Matthew 22:36. Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matt. 22:37, 38 Heart – and undivided will with one goal, serving God. Ones’ heart chases after that which pleases Christ. One does not justify compromising actions or situations, one walks away. When I married, I gave my Heart to my new Bride.
Soul – seat of emotional activity – connecting emotions with our dedication to God. With an undivided heart, emotions follow. After 48 years of marriage, I still refer my wife as my Bride. I see her as on our wedding day, her picture occupies all my backgrounds. The emotional connection with Christ is like a marriage, you think of Him, try to please Him, Jesus is a big part of ones’ life. Mind – thoughts, imaginations – our intellect, influenced by the Word of God, begins to dream His dreams for ones’ life. My wife loves Mozart. For our 40th anniversary I took her to Mozart’s’ home town Saltsburg, Austria, my Bride was elated. I imagined this for my Bride. Growing in Christ imaginations are stirred, how can one better serve, who could be touched, how to demonstrate my Love for Him?
Consider three measurements, time, talk and finances.
Time – how much of a 24-hour day is spent with God, reading, praying or worshipping? To ignore my Bride would be disastrous, the few evening hours we have together I treasure. Time with Christ changes the way we act and respond to others.
Talk – about what do you speak the most, work, sports, vacation, exercise, food, games, music or something else? Internationally I introduce everyone to my Bride through pictures, the more I talk about her, the more loves grows. To season ones’ speech with Scripture or references to Christ? Are you quick to say, “Praise the Lord or Thank you God,” when a blessing occurs? Is the Lover of your Soul evident in daily life?
Finances – what percentage of your extra money is used to help others and further the Kingdom of God? “I give at church, it’s their job to do this.” Most spend more on phones, internet and vacations than touching lives. I fell in love 49 years ago when I gave my heart, soul and mind to Christ, this marriage changed my life to make me a better husband. When your love towards others grows cold, look inside your heart.
Have you given it all to God/Christ, this is the greatest commandment?
The writer is the director of Agape Distribution/Combined Community Food Pantry.