Read Matthew 22:34-40
If Biblical characters were children on a playground, the Pharisees were the kids nobody wanted to hang out with! They knew the rules inside and out, and weren’t afraid to let you know if you had committed an infraction. Not only did they know the Ten Commandments, but they worked tirelessly to memorize and commit to memory all of the laws of Moses.
Yet even with this knowledge, the Pharisees had lost sight of the very heart of the matter –loving God. Without love for God, the whole point of following the rules becomes mundane. In fact Jesus specifically warned of the consequences of this slippery slope when he said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25-26 NIV)
If there is one big theme from our reading today it is simple – love God. But is that easier said than done?
Well it isn’t just some one and done “I love you God” type moment. It is a commitment. It is a desperate yearning in your soul for the Lord. Jesus put it this way “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV). Those are three big pieces: heart and soul and mind! They all point to what we really are, and more importantly who we really are. Jesus doesn’t ask for this type of commitment by mistake. He wants everything we are and have, beginning with our innermost commitments and all our thoughts, to be devoted to our loving, graceful, and fierce God.
Loving God means honoring Him, exalting Him, and paying close attention to His will as expressed in the Bible. And not only are we to pay attention, but we are to obey. The Bible warns, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22 NIV).
How are you expressing your love to God today? Have you committed your heart, mind and soul to Jesus? Are you walking in His will for your life? Are you being faithful to His commandments?