Summary: Living for Christ gives you a new purpose for life.
I’m Living On Purpose 7-15-07 Series: The New Me Pt.2 Mark 12:28-34
Intro. Hold up steering wheel, hammer and golf club – what do these things have in common? They’re all used to drive something. The wheel drives a car, the hammer drives a nail and the golf club drives a ball. The dictionary defines the word drive like this, “to carry through, to push forward, to guide, control and direct.” When you stop and think about it, that definition is exactly what purpose ought to do in our lives. Purpose should drive us towards a desired destination and ultimately carry us through to the end of our journey. Imagine how exciting it would be if you could know w/o a shadow of doubt what your life’s purpose really was? Do you think knowing that purpose would make a difference in the way you lived your life? Of course it would! Now before we can understand what our purpose is, we’ve got make sure we know what our life’s purpose is not. You were not put on earth for the sole purpose of making money, having a career, raising a family, being important, enjoying fame or even becoming powerful. There’s nothing wrong with these things…they’re simply not important enough to drive your life. So what should drive the life of a believer? Jesus tells us that our purpose for living can be summarized by these 2 simple statements – we are supposed to love God and love others. I know that sounds so basic and fundamental that most of us probably would say, “Hey I already know how to do those things.” But the truth is…we don’t really know how to love God and love others the way Jesus wants us to. That’s why I want us to look at Mark’s gospel and listen to the verbal exchange that occurred between a certain religious leader; a teacher of the law and Jesus Christ.
Let me set the stage for you. The religious establishment had already made up their mind about Jesus – he had to go. So they were constantly trying to trap into saying something that would end his ministry. The way they did that was by asking him certain questions that had been debated for years by well respected Rabbi’s and yet nobody seemed to have an adequate answer. Read Mark 12:28-34.
When this man asked Jesus, “Which was the greatest or most important commandment” he wasn’t asking Jesus to choose one out of the 10 commandments. NO! By the time Jesus arrived on the scene the Jewish religious system had taken the 10 commandments and expanded them to a whopping list of more than 600 rules, regulations and laws. It was out of this mammoth list that the leaders wanted Jesus to make a singular choice. Most of them probably thought, “we’ve got him now. There’s no way he can pick one commandment, say that’s the most important one and still please everyone.” As usual Jesus blew them away with his wisdom and spiritual insight. Jesus says if you take everything from the bible and boil it down you’ll find God’s purpose for your life wrapped up in these 2 things – love God and love others. He could have stopped right there, but that wouldn’t have done us much good. So he goes on to explain what that kind of love looks like in everyday life.
1. We must love God PASSIONATELY.
Did you know that the kind of love that ought to drive our lives is neither emotional nor sentimental? The love Jesus speaks about in v.30 is an act of your will, a determined choice to care about and be concerned with the welfare of someone other than yourself. It is the same kind of love that the NT speaks about God having for you and me. We call it agape love – that means it’s an intelligent, purposeful, self-sacrificing, active kind of commitment. So if you want to fulfill your life’s purpose then you’ve got to make a conscious, willful decision to love God.
Notice that Jesus says we’re to love God will all our heart, all our soul, all of our mind and with all our strength. Now we need to be careful that we don’t see these 4 phrases as if there were separate categories of our love for God. Jesus is not saying that you can love God with all your heart, but then you choose not to love him with your mind. NO. Rather than seeing these phrases as separate elements we need to view them as an expression of the totality and the comprehensiveness of our love for God.
Loving God with all you heart and soul speaks of a passionate kind of love. It’s a love where there is a sense of abandonment, where everything else seems to take a back seat. I remember when I first fell in love with Nancy. We were in 10th grade and yet nothing mattered more to me that to be with her as often and as long as I could. She was my passion and priority back then. But guess what? Today that passion and priority hasn’t waned, but rather it’s grown more intense through the years. That’s what should happen when you love God with all your heart and soul. God should be more of a passionate priority this year than he was last year. Here’s the million-dollar question – “Is He? Is God really your passionate priority?” Does your love for God DRIVE your life or is it just something you do on Sunday’s?