Summary: Message about committing to taking practical steps to love God more and serve him better.
A Life-Changing Resolution
January 1, 2006
How many of you here have made some resolutions for this year? It’s okay, you can be honest!
Here are a few less-serious resolutions:
"I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast."
"I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here."
"I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
"I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect."
(SOURCE: Rodney Buchanan in "Starting the New Year Right" Sermoncentral.com Contributed by: SermonCentral PRO)
I’m not real big into resolutions, personally. I have nothing against them, and I applaud those of you who make them. And I’m ecstatic for those of you who actually keep them.
But today I want to give you some ideas that you can take with you to help make this year one of the best you’ve ever had.
And in doing that, I want to suggest a resolution that you can use year after year for the rest of your life.
This resolution is taken from the passage of Scripture we’re going to look at during our time together this morning, and it’s found in Mark 12:28-34. I’d like you to turn to that passage in your Bibles. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is found on page 718.
And while you’re getting there, I want to just give a little bit of context.
Jesus had just gotten done answering a bunch of his critics, one after another. They had been trying to get him to say something that would cause Him to trap himself. It hadn’t worked before that, and it doesn’t work this time.
One of these fellers had been watching and listening to the exchange, and finally comes to Jesus with his own question, a question that goes to the very heart of what the Bible teaches about God and how we’re to relate to Him.
So I’d invite you to follow along with me as I read this passage from Mark 12:28-34 -
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these."
32 "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
From this passage, I want to share with you what I think ought to be the resolution at the top of the list for everyone who call themselves Christians:
To take practical steps know God better and love Him more.
Now notice I didn’t just say: know God better and love Him more. I said: take practical steps to know God better and love Him more.
I want to give you some ideas that will help you do that. As we look more closely at this passage, especially verses 30-31, I want us to see that God wants us to love Him in four ways, according to this passage.
And we’re going to briefly look at each of these as we examine how to put this resolution into practice.
Ready? Let’s dive in. First...
1. God wants us to love Him with everything inside us.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."
This is loving Him passionately.
Now I don’t mean some sappy, romance novel or romantic comedy movie kinda passion.
When a person is passionate about something, it drives them. It defines how they live.
If a person is passionate about farming, then it’s what drives their day to day life. They make all their decisions around that passion.
Well, with God, we’re supposed to love Him so much that He is how we define our lives. We live according to what we know will honor Him and please Him. It means living by God’s agenda instead of our own.