Introduction: Back to the Basics
When life gets overwhelming, it’s a good practice to do a quick check on the basics of life: Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating well? Am I getting exercise? Am I spending time with God and in His Word?
There’s another question we don’t often think of that’s a critical indicator of healthy spiritual life: Am I loving God and loving others? In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus reminds us that these are the only two commandments that are of utmost importance: loving God and loving others. All other commandments rest on these two.
So what does the Bible say about this call to love God?
There are 19 different words for “love” throughout Scripture. It’s used as a noun, adjective and verb. When used in reference to God, it’s a noun—it’s who He is. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8-16, NLT). It’s the very nature of His character.
When used as an adjective, it describes us as seen in our actions toward God and others. Used as a verb, it describes the action taken or to be taken, be it past, present or future. And it’s often an imperative—a command—to love God and people; when the word “love” is used as a command, the underlying implication is that love is also a choice—a choice to respond in obedience or not.
At the end of Deuteronomy 10, Moses extends a call of love and obedience to the Israelites. He’d spent time reminding them of where they had come from, where they were being led and that the Lord was leading them. With all of these reminders, Moses, in Deuteronomy 11, describes the blessing that comes with this call to love and obey God. He also describes the impact of disobedience.
To love God is a call to respond to His love for you, and it’s a call to obedience. Choosing to respond in obedience with gratitude and love flows from a heart that’s been changed by God’s transforming love.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you define “love” in light of this call to obedience?
- In what ways does a heart of obedience reflect your love for God?
- Are there areas of disobedience you need to bring before the Lord?
- Mark 12:30-31
- Deuteronomy 11:1-15