Being a follower of Jesus is becoming more challenging each day, even in America. Its true that we usually are not threatened to renounce our faith or be killed, as some believers are in other parts of the world. However, the often subtle challenges to living out our faith are nonetheless real and very dangerous to our spiritual life.
One of the challenges that I experience is that as life becomes increasingly busy and complicated I tend to lose sight of the simple foundations of our Christian faith. I like the simplicity of Pauls statement to the Corinthians, I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1Co 2:2). We use a simple statement in our literature to communicate our desire as a church: Relationship with Jesus, not religion. Other churches simply say, loving God, loving people. Jesus also affirms a simple statement of faith, which is referred to as the greatest commandment: to love God entirely and to love others as yourself.
A. The Command: Love the Lord with your entire life
1. The context of the passage
a. The lawyer:
- Expert in the Mosaic law
- Gave the correct answer
- Turns it back on the lawyer
- Do this and you shall live
2. The Greatest Commandment: Love the Lord with everything that is in you
a. Love the Lord your God... Deuteronomy 6:5
b. Why does God give us a command to love Him?
- Deuteronomy 6:12 Then watch yourself...
3. Heart, soul, strength, mind = Loving God with abandon
B. The Problem: People do wander
1. It is difficult loving someone who is so completely different than ourselves
a. When we dont have a clear concept of God and who He is He seems too unknowable
b. How do you love a spiritual being?
2. People are easily distracted
C. The Solution
1. Make a decision: Obeying the command
2. Renew it daily
3. Control input
4. Delight in His presence: Look forward to time with God
a. Keep short accounts
b. Seek opportunities to spend time with Him
c. Know His voice
We all need times of fresh commitment, to renew our decision to love God with abandon, with all we are and through all we do.
1. Share a time when you renewed your commitment to love God first. What was the result?
2. What are some of the ways other believers help you to stay focused on loving God?
3. What do you do to control input in your daily experience?