The Greatest Commandment

Published by DonDavidson on

Of the 613 commandments in the Old Testament (per Jewish tradition), Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:28-30) But what does this really mean?

The New Testament was written predominantly in Greek, and Greek has at least six words which can be translated as our English word, “love”:

          Philautia – self love, which can be anything from narcissim to healthy self-respect

          Eros – sexual passion or romantic love (from which we get our word, “erotic”)

          Ludus – playful love, flirting

          Storge – family love, especially between parent and child

          Phileô – friendly affection, brotherly love (as in Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love)

          Agape – unconditional, selfless love that is concerned with the welfare of others

Agape love is not a feeling or an emotion, but a choice—an act of the will.

In the New Testament, when you see the English word “love,” it is always phileô or agape—and most often, agape. In Mark 12:28-30, the word translated “love” is agape.

With this in mind, how do we love—agape—God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I think we find a clue in Matthew 10:37, where Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

We find another clue in Luke 16:13, where he says, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

God insists on being #1 in our lives—more important than money or family or job, or even your favorite TV show.

I’m not saying that we can’t have fun doing other things. The belief of some non-believers that Christians don’t or can’t have fun is a total misconception. But our relationship with God must take precedence. God has to be our #1 priority.

With that in mind, how do you choose to spend your money? How do you choose to spend your time? In making these choices, is God your top priority, or merely an after-thought? Does God get your best, or just your leftovers?


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