Day 13: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
When Jesus was asked “What is the greatest commandment?” In other words He was asked “Jesus there is all these commandments, there is all these do’s and don’ts; give us the cheat sheet Jesus, give us the spark notes.” This is what Jesus responded with:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
In other words, Jesus said the greatest commandment is love God and love others. The fact that Jesus answered this question, because most of the time He would tell a story or answer the question with a question, shows that He really wanted to drive home the importance of love. All 600 plus commandments Jesus summed up with one word “love.”
Essentially Jesus was saying “Without love, you have nothing. But with love you have everything.” You can have everything, but if you don’t have love, you have nothing. You can have nothing, but if you have love, you have everything. You can obey every commandment there is, you can follow all the do’s and don’ts, you can cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s; but if you don’t have love, it means nothing.
Paul summed it up like this in his first letter to the Corinthians:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self‑seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13 NIV)
So what’s love got to do with it? Everything!