Theme of the Week: Four Essential Loves
Bible Verse: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:36-46
The life of Jesus himself provides the best lens through which to sharpen our focus on what it looks like to wholeheartedly love God. Reflecting on the meaning and significance of this command through the grid of even the highest human virtue or example is going to leave one with a watered-down essence of what these words entail. How then did Jesus love the Father?
Simply put, Jesus’ love for the Father was lived out in complicit obedience to the Father’s will, even though such love cost him dearly. Matthew recounts the intensity of Jesus’ struggle with the Father’s will that, for him who knew no sin, included being made of sin so that we might be made whole in the righteousness of God. In a rather awkward conversation, in which his disciples were unabashedly discussing who should be the greatest in the kingdom, Jesus reminded them that the Father’s will for the Son of Man was not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. It was clearly his love for the world that moved God to provide his Son, the Lord Jesus, as the perfect and only acceptable sacrifice on our behalf. But as much or more than his love for the world, it was Jesus’ love for the Father that kept him on the cross. Wholehearted love for his Father – heart, soul, mind, and strength – moved Jesus to extravagant, inconceivable expressions of love.
Wholehearted love for his Father – heart, soul, mind, and strength – moved Jesus to extravagant, inconceivable expressions of love.
Yet when we consider the Gospels carefully we are confronted with the fact that Jesus did not demonstrate his wholehearted love for the Father through nonstop, frenetic activity and service. Jesus incorporated a pattern into his ministry in which he spent unhurried, unhindered time alone with his Father. These times were not merely efforts to get away from people; they were times when he made the effort to find rest with his Father. It was a habit he encouraged his disciples to engage as well. “Then, because so many people were coming and going they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’.” (Mark 6:31)
It is easy for us to become so consumed with serving our God, and consider that investment of time and energy as the best demonstration of our love for him, that we create little or no time to simply be with him. Mark tells us that Jesus appointed the twelve not only to preach the good news of the kingdom and to have authority to drive out demons, but first of all to be with him (Mark 3:13-15).
I know the frustration that can occur in attempting to find time to be with the Lord. But I have also come to believe that loving God with all that I am demands it.
Personal Reflection: What kinds of activities are you doing presently that will enhance or cause your love for God to grow?
Taken from Four Essential Loves: Heart Readiness for Leadership and Ministryby William R. McAlpine Copyright © 2013 by William R. McAlpine. Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.
Copyright © 2021 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.