Summary: What it means for us to ’love God with all our heart soul, mind and strenght’
Mark12:29-31, Deut 6:4-9
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Familiar words? Hopefully!
Hear them again – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
For those of us who have been around the church for a while I’m guessing we will have heard those words many times.
But what do they mean? – to love God? If I asked you now if you love God – what would you say? How do you gauge something like that?
What does love for God look like – feel like – how does it show itself? What does it look like if we don’t love God? Why do we sometimes find it hard to love God?
You would think that we should we able to answer those questions fairly easily – but I’m not sure that that’s the case.
When Jesus spoke those words he had been asked by a Pharisee what the most important commandment was – Jesus says ‘its to love God with everything in you’ – and the second is like it – ‘to love your neighbour as yourself.’ The Pharisee says well done Rabbi – gives him a pat on the back!
This morning I want us to think for a while about what it means to love God – what Jesus called the most important commandment, then next week we’ll look at the second half of that command – to love one another and then the following week at LBC together we’ll be looking at another loving the world like God does. We’ll look at the other command Jesus left us with to go and make disciples of all nations and how that works out for us here at LBC.
Loving God, loving one another and loving the world. It’s a short description of what God wants his church to do and what he hopes for us as individuals. That we will love him, that we will love another and that we will love the people who don’t know him.
Our vision says we “personally help unchurched people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ.” I’m guessing that its fair to think that passionate followers will be serious God lovers.
So – Do you love God?…
Is that a more challenging question than it first appears? It has been for me over the last few months.
I’ve known for the last three months or so what I was going to be speaking on today and for the next two weeks which has given time to reflect on it – and quite honestly it has been a disturbing question for me. Do I love God?
I hope today to ask you some of the same difficult questions that I feel God has been asking me over the last month or so. Questions that have disturbed me – questions that have shown up my blind spots and failures, but questions that as I seek to answer them and as we seek to answer them, will I believe light the path to a newer, freer, richer more authentic relationship with God.
The Eating thing
Let me share with you a fairly personal issue that I’m working through that has caused me to ask this question about loving God.
Last year – in fact for a number of years now I have been aware that I have been struggling with an addiction. As soon as I say the word it arouses concern in us – and rightly so because addictive behaviour is unhealthy and destructive. And if you’re like me you probably wonder what is it – drugs, pornography, alcohol, gambling – what’s he into?
If I told you that the addiction I struggle with is eating you probably breathe a sigh of relief – you might even say look at me and say ‘hey its no big deal’ because it doesn’t show in any visible way – I’m not fat and I’m reasonably fit. But in that there is a deception.
And maybe its not an all consuming desire at the moment – but I’m aware and I have been aware for some time that my relationship with food (if you can call it that!) is unhealthy. I have felt for some time that I am not in control of my eating – egs – can’t walk past a bakery, dreaming about food – and yet it seems normal – food is something I love – something that makes me feel good – when I’m down I eat – in fact when I’m ‘up’ I eat. I eat most of the time – when I’m not eating I’m thinking about when I will be eating – my favourite words are ‘all you can eat’ – I tend to take them quite literally. I just love to eat – I don’t eat because I’m hungry – I eat because I enjoy the sensual pleasure of taste. Eating makes me feel good and some foods make me feel better than others. I rarely get stuck on cabbage or weet bix, but I can put away some cheesecake and some pizza.