“One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’


Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.’


The teacher of religious law replied, ‘Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.’


Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, ‘You are not far from the Kingdom of God.’ And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.” Mark 12:28-34 (NLT)


A religious man came to Jesus to ask Him a question to see how He would respond. He was well-versed in all of the Biblical commandments and the religious order of the day. But, what would Jesus summarize as the most important commandment? Jesus’ answer was simple. First, love God. Love Him with everything within your being, then love your neighbor. Jesus could have said any of the commandments. He could have talked about the burnt offerings, rules on cleanliness, or giving money.  The religious leaders would have all deemed those as important. However, Jesus was so much less concerned with following the religious protocol than helping people address the heart issues. Loving God conflicts with people’s desires to love their own life, while loving people can create opportunities for sacrifice. Jesus knew this man, who was standing on the edge of the religious order and teetering between walking in freedom with God, was close to experiencing true freedom only found through Jesus. By loving God first, loving people would be an overflow of his heart.


We can make faith very complicated like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day. If you do the right things, say the right words, and live the right life, then you will receive God’s approval. However, it works completely opposite of our original inclination. We will never be able to say all the right things and live a right life on our own. We can try but will always fall short. That’s why we need Jesus.  It’s Jesus who enables us to walk with Him. When we put our faith in Jesus, God is asking us to love Him and love people. We can’t let the simplicity of faith be made into a bunch of rules that we try to keep but then fail.  The power of loving God and people can completely transform our hearts and impact the people around us. So, how can you love your neighbor today? We clothe and feed ourselves. We invest time and energy into taking care of ourselves. That’s what God is asking us to do for other people. He isn’t asking us to do something abstract and difficult. He just wants us to love the people He places in our lives. Love God and love people. Let’s place our focus on those two things this week and watch and see what God does around us.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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