By Richard Spangler
Matthew 22:37 Sets the stage, for talking about the greatest commandment. The Sadducees have come to Jesus, remember they keep trying trip him up. They are so upset with him. They couldn’t see who they were dealing with, they were so wrapped with tradition and the law and trying to fulfill the law, which we all know you can’t do. They had literally lost sight of the love of God and their love for God. They were doing everything they could but they had lost their love for God. The Law and their traditions had become more important than God.
Jesus puts its point blank when they ask, “Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the Law.” And Jesus replied, “ To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” And we know the latter part, love your neighbor as yourself, all the Law and prophets hangs on these two commandments. I having been reading Practice the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (1614-1691). This man had physical problems, what we would call disabled today, He had lot of issues. He was sent out to go buy provisions in the town nearby and also took his turn in the kitchen preparing food.
This was a hard thing for him to do. But he did everything with the attitude of love towards God. This book has challenged me. He states that with the grace of God everything becomes easy. Remember in those days they didn’t have wheelchair ramps, they didn’t have wheelchairs. Then he goes on to say, “that many to do not advance in the Christian progress because they stick in penance and in particular exercises while they neglect the love of God which is its end.”
How many of us get so wrapped up in what we do, that we forget the love of God, of loving God, of taking time with him. I got to go sing in the choir, I got to go to do this or I got to go and do that, I got to be here at such and such a time. We got to all this stuff to do. Whether, it’s what we consider spiritual things or natural things, we get so busy doing the stuff we forget to take the time to love God. We know God loves us. Jesus is saying Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Brother Lawrence is saying, we neglect the loving of God. What we learning about the love of God and about Loving God is not a new thing. Everyone thinks that the Father’s love, loving God and soaking prayer and spending time in His presence is a new thing. It’s as old as Jesus. It changes the perspective on what happens when you do the stuff, not for the love of man but for your love of God.
There are a lot of organizations and people that do things out of the love for mankind. Many of these organizations started with a love for God and man, but they forgotten key, the real key for everything we do, is loving God. Whether you are in Wal-Mart buying chicken for dinner, whether you are home being with your spouse or your children, whatever you are doing, you are to it with your love of God. As I was reading Brother Lawrence’s teaching, it is challenging me to say, “O.K. God I really want to love you more. I want to love you in everything I do.” That’s challenging.
Loving God is the underpinning key for every one of the Giftings of the Holy Spirit to operate. We say, “We don’t need to seek the gifts but to seek the giver.” But more importantly than seeking the giver is to love the giver.
Being in His presence, I know a lot people say, “I don’t have time to spend time with God. I have my devotion in the morning, then I got to fix breakfast, I got to get the kids out the door, I got to go to work, I got to cut the grass, I got to watch television, I got to play on the computer for a while” What’s important to you, you find time to do. If it’s not important to you, it’s a struggle to find time to do it. If it’s important to you, you will find time to spend time with God and love on Him.
That’s the beginning, everything we do we should do out of our love for God. Whether it’s what we call natural things or spiritual things we should do them out of our love for God. It is out of love that we see things happen. As we love him, God pours out more than we can contain.
God gets excited; He gets overjoyed for we are loving him in everything we do. God responds by pouring out His love into us and all that He is and has is available to us. God says, “I love you so much, Here it is.” Taking time with God is not just doing bible study or reading through the bible in a year. Those things are important because you gain knowledge of the Word of God. But we all get so with the doing we forget to say, “O.K. God I am here just to love on you and spend time with you.” When we do that, we change, it is almost automatic, our attitudes change in how we deal with stuff and people. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem as important as it did, because you are in the presence of God. When I am caught up in His presence, the cable bill doesn’t seem to matter as much. What’s for dinner doesn’t seem to matter. Physical problems don’t matter. The struggles of life don’t matter, for you are in place where you are loving God and He is loving you. Our little bit of love we give Him, gets overwhelmed by His love for us.
Jesus is saying, “to love God with all your heart, all your soul and all of your mind.” I we think of the heart as the spirit, the soul is a place of the emotions and the mind is a place of your will. In other words, you are to love God with all that you are. It is an act of your will, it is your choice to spend time with and to love God. Concentrate on loving God with everything you are and with everything you do.
©COPYRIGHT 2011 RICHARD SPANGLER