When the call of God on our lives and the message for us in Scripture is distilled into one line it reads like this: “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” This was the central command of Old Testament Judaism (Dt.6:5) and it was the primary imperative of the one whose name we bear (Mt.22:37). But when that clear and forthright standard is held up for comparison with modern Christianity, it seems that only a few are focused on this goal. It appears to be a paltry and seemingly “fanatical” minority among us, who would even name this central biblical command as a part of their life’s mission or current goals. But before we call this folk fanatical, remember that the responsibility to love God with all that we are cannot be erased or minimized under the guise of New Covenant grace. When some claim we are unfettered from this calling because we are “not under the law” they fail to realize the promised effects of grace. Jesus said when we have been forgiven much we love much (Lk.7:42-47). Grace doesn’t free us from the obligation to love God with all of our hearts, it is the fuel for doing so. The Apostle John penned an entire New Testament book based on the proposition that loving God is the sign of those who are actual participants in the grace of God (1 John). Lastly, it is important to note that this supreme love is not meant for the “god” of our choosing. Seeking to fulfill the primary biblical calling must be aimed at the only God who is – the God of the Bible. As John clarifies, this love will be measured by an honesty about our transgressions of his holiness (1Jn.1:8, 10) and our resolve and growing consistency in keeping his commands (1Jn.3). He exhorts his readers, “This is love for God: to obey his commands” (1Jn.5:3). So the next time someone asks you about the goals for your life or the plans for the year, be sure and respond with the fundamental Christian calling, “I am planning to love God with all of my heart, with all of my soul and with all of my strength!”
- Pastor Mike
Times are changing, and at a dramatic pace. Much of the shift in our culture has been over just a few short years. Not too long ago the kinds of things happening today would have provoked public outrage. This is no longer the case. However, we should not be surprised; the Bible tells us that people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3).
As our culture continues down this path, calling “good evil and evil good,” we are challenged more and more to live as a countercultural Christian in today’s world. In his book Prepare, Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, urges us to prepare for a future none of us could have imagined just a few years ago. This book will help you understand how to live faithfully in this new America.
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