Summary: The Goal is to love God and love others
Purpose Series #1
(Six Sessions on God’s Purpose for Your Life)
SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 22:34-40
For the next 6 Sundays we will study together the principles found in “Beginning Life Together.” Our Pueblo groups will be studying the same material during this time. This material corresponds with Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. You may have noticed the many posters around town showing that lots of churches have been doing “40 days of Purpose” campaigns. Well, I guess we actually have them beat, because our emphasis will last 42 days.
Today is an introduction to the series. We’re going to ask a basic question: why did God create us and put us on earth? What is our purpose? Maybe you’ve heard the Hokey Pokey song. You know: You put your right foot in; you put your right foot out; you put your right foot in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about. Have you ever contemplated this question: What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?
Well, we don’t have to wonder if the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about. You don’t have to guess what it’s all about because Jesus answered the question. We heard the answer in our TEXT this morning. An expert on the Law tested Jesus with this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Let’s stop for a minute on that first word. Jesus replied: "Love…”
If we hope to get a handle on what the Bible means by using the word “Love” we need to realize that ultimately, Love is an attitude of the heart.
1. Love is Attitude Matthew 22:37-38
When I say ATTITUDE of the heart, I don’t mean a FEELING of the heart. We need to understand that a general “feeling” of love is not the point. Feelings come and go. When Jim Dobson wrote his book, Emotions, Can you trust them? The answer to the question is shouted from the pages of the book. NO! You cannot trust your emotions! Emotions will lie to you over and over again!
I remember a song from the ‘60’s called “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” The implied message of that song is dangerous. I’ve sometimes heard a husband or wife who wants a divorce say, “Well, I just don’t love them any more.” I want to say, well, if you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling, then get out there and find it. The truth is, you don’t lose love. You can neglect it. You can reject it. You can smother it. You might even murder it. But you don’t lose love.
You see, love is a choice. Feelings often follow that choice --- not the other way around. I heard of a Marriage Counselor who gives this homework to the couples he counsels. He says: Fake it till you make it. In other words, ACT like you love each other --- and after a while, you’ll start FEELING like you love each other.
The kind of Love Jesus commands is not goose bumps or butterflies in your stomach. It’s not a sentimental, oooey-gooey feeling – it is not a fleeting emotion at all.
And notice that Jesus did not just give a general command to love anyone, anywhere, any time. Before anything else, we need to make the decision to love the Lord our God.
When Jesus gave the greatest commandment, he was quoting an Old Testament scripture that was known as the “Shema” (she maah) That is the first word of the verse, and in Hebrew it means “Hear!” “Hear oh Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
The proper object of Love makes all the difference. In fact, we cannot properly love anyone else unless we begin with love of God. And the kind of LOVE God deserves is a deeply entrenched attitude of the heart. It’s the kind of love that starts in the core of our being.
Sandra Palmer Carr wrote a devotion where she told about rocking her four-year-old son, Boyd. While she rocked him, Boyd looked up at her, staring straight into her eyes. He became very still, and then he said in an awed whisper: “Mommy, I’m in your eyes.” He had seen his own reflection in his mother’s eyes. Sandra stopped rocking and held Boyd in that same position for several long moments then said quietly. “And I’m in your eyes, too!” Sandra Palmer Carr The Upper Room