10 July 2016

The Greatest Commandment

There have been so many thoughts in my mind lately it's crazy. I keep churning inside my brain trying to pick and choose what it is I have to write for you. Tonight I come back to this drafted post about God's greatest commandment.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus states the greatest commandment...

Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Out of everything God outlined for us he chose this as the most important. What do you think was his reasoning behind this? I would argue that it was solidarity. Meaning that loving God is the most important because if we love God we obey him; thus obeying all the other commands out of our desire to honor him. If we love God with everything we are he is our first priority, our focus, our solidarity in a world with grey areas, our peace in the chaos. God knows that if we love him we are best off.  

Matthew 11:29-30New International Version (NIV)

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Philippians 4:6-7New International Version (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I remember being at an all staff meeting for my job quite a few months back. There was this point in the meeting with open microphones where we were allowed the opportunity to discuss openly and freely about the social problems in our city and think about what we could do to solve them. I remember in the midst of this exercise one person coming up to the mic and asking an open question "what really can we do about all of these issues?" this person seeking a tangible, "perfect social program" answer. As this went on you could hear people all over the room discussing ideas with one another. As this is happening I sit in my chair thinking to myself, the answer is Jesus. Only Jesus can fix this, because it's not about social programs, it's about hearts. Then, to my surprise the next person to speak said it. They stated, in my own paraphrase,"Now if no one else will get up here and say it I will, I have the answer. It's God. This is a heart problem. Only God can fix hearts." I was SO surprised but glad that this man had the courage to stand up in a room of diverse people and declare God's hope. I sat there thinking that I hoped I could be as brave as that guy. 

In the midst of the violence and chaos happening in the United States right now, I wanted to remind my sisters and brothers that Jesus is the answer. If we are obedient to him, we are doing and being exactly what He needs us to; we are doing exactly what we need to do to build the kingdom of Heaven and speak the truth of God's love and hope to a very lost world. 

Romans 12:17-19New International Version (NIV)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I also want to take the time here to urge you to pray. Pray about everything, but especially pray for our country. Pray for peace, revival, mercy. Cry out to God to protect people and prevent more violence. Pray that he would provide a leader for us after his own heart. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18New International Version (NIV)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
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