Summary: Christians can love God meaningfully.
HOW TO LOVE THE LORD
ILLUSTRATION After she woke up, a woman told her husband, "I just dreamed that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s day. What do you think it means?"
"You’ll know tonight." he said.
That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it to find a book entitled "The Meaning of Dreams"
Why did the expert in the law ask this question?
For centuries, the scribes had documented 613 commandments in the law, 248 positive and 365 negative. The scribes divided the commands into “heavy” (important) and “light” (unimportant). People then had the tendency to major on the “heavy commandments” and not worry about the trivial ones. Jesus however, emphasized that the commands in the Law and the prophets are all important and anyone who violates a law is guilty of violating them all. (See James 2:10)
His response in our text today, is perhaps Jesus’ way of simplifying the obedience of the law. He summarized them into two commandments: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Therefore the best way to obey the Law is to focus on loving God and loving others. We must concentrate on what must be done for God and man instead of thinking of the things that we must not do to our God and man.
What did the response of Christ signify?
The commandments mentioned by Jesus Christ reveal the importance of relationship between God and us. Four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God while the other six deal with our relationship with people. But all ten are about relationships. In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus summarized what matters most to God in two statements: love God and love people. The love that must be expressed is done within the context of a relationship. The possessive pronoun “your” signifies a relationship which started way back to Abraham. (See Genesis 17:7-8)
ILLUSTRATION God wanted to possess me, not merely my possessions.
In other words, what is important to God is our personal relationship with Him; not our achievements or the acquisition of things. But at times, the desire for achievements and acquisition of things caused us to sacrifice our relationship with God. We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. They are not. The point of life is learning to love God who created us and to love the people he placed around us.
How can we demonstrate our love for God?
Jesus said that we must “love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our minds, /and with all our strength.” From the point of view of biblical anthropology, "heart," "soul," "mind" and “strength” (v. 37) are not mutually exclusive but overlapping categories. Heart in the Jewish though was the seat of thinking and feeling. Soul is the fountain of man’s will and feelings. Mind refers to the rational element of man which is understanding and intelligence. The strength emphasizes the physical power and being of a person; it also includes the human ability.
It is clear therefore that Jesus was demanding that our love for God to come from our whole person, our every faculty and capacity. We cannot love God by just using our intellect or relying on our emotion solely. Besides love is something that can be best expressed when all the human faculties are utilize together. God desires our whole being and not just a part of us. He wants the whole person and not just a portion. And it is the wise thing to do while living here on earth.
1. It involves our Will.
The will of man refer to his particular desire, purpose, pleasure, and choice. Loving God requires the exercise of our will. Loving God should be our purpose and desire. It is not something that happens automatically but rather a decision that we make and choose to do. That is why loving the Lord is a command because we do not automatically love God. Loving God is not something that we wait to happen, we must make a decision.
When we choose to love somebody, nobody can stop us. People can isolate us from the object of our love but cannot erase the desire and purpose of our heart, because love is something that we have decided within. If you truly “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” it should be the passion of our heart.
2. It involves our Intellect.
You cannot love somebody without knowing the person first. We need to find out if the person has enough reasons why we should love him or her. Thus we hate the idea of match-making when it comes to finding a life-time partner. God is not unfair, He did not ask for our love without revealing himself to us. Jesus Christ came to reveal the Father – his plans and purposes for our lives. (See John 14:8-11) And based on this revelation of Himself, He is challenging us to respond in love.