Summary: Jesus, with pinpoint, laser-like clarity cuts through all the red tape and fine print and says there are two pinnacle principles that serve as the hinge pins on which the kingdom swings.
Do you ever think about the type of person Jesus was? I am talking about personality wise. When we think about each other that is what we do . . . mild, direct, intense, aloof, or warm. But when we think about Jesus we often stop at thinking about who He was and not what He was like. Well, when I think about His personality I have come to the conclusion that He was precise and concise. In fact, I think it could be said that Jesus was a minimalist. He boiled things down. Think about it . . . He was able to summarize the entire teachings, premises, and principles of the kingdom in one short teaching we call "The Sermon on The Mount." When compared to the religious scholars, teachers and preachers of His day He must have come off as a man of few words. Rather than volumes of information and inspiration it was like He took the opposite route with almost a "less is more" approach. The religious elite of His day had managed to take the 10 simple commandments that made up the law and expound and expand them until they added 603 new commandments to "help" the people of that day understand the original 10.
In contrast, when Jesus was asked to expound on the 10 Commandments, He, rather than adding to and mudding the water, summarized them into two basic concepts that communicated the heart of all the others. Listen to His two.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus, with pinpoint, laser-like clarity cuts through all the red tape and fine print and says there are two pinnacle principles that serve as the hinge pins on which the kingdom swings.
He boils it down to this. The first is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The Message uses the terms with all your passion, prayer and intelligence.
This is no easy task. This command is a constant call and challenge to perpetually examine our love level for God. This moves us beyond a once a week in a service pursuit of God mentality. In fact, this precise statement from Jesus smacks our tendency to become apathetic and comfortable with low levels of love for God in the face. There is no room in this command to go through the motions, to slack off, to half way pursue God. To fulfill this command requires that we become singular in our focus and commitment.
It is this call that should force us to daily ask ourselves this question, "How much do I love God? Does my love for Him capture my heart (my passion)? Is He more important and more pursued than my career, my things, and my causes? Is my soul wrapped up in Him or me?" Soul - is the seat of emotions! In other words, am I as emotional about God as I am about my dog, my kids, my favorite sports team or my favorite character on TV? "Is my mind engaged in my pursuit of God?" How do you love God with all of your mind? You are actively attempting to learn more about Him. Are you studying Him? Some of us love God with our heart and our soul but fail to "Study to show ourselves approved!"
Command One requires a total commitment. It impacts and pulls on every part of us. In one statement, Jesus forces us to recalibrate what constitutes a real disciple. Some of us love God but not "with all!" No part withheld. 3/4 isn't with all. 90% isn't with all. All means all! Holding nothing back. No reserve. No net. No fail safe. No fall back plan.
How close are you to fulfilling one? Without fulfilling all of all you are unable to fulfill the remainder of the commands.
As I stated, this is not an easy task. However, when presented with this unbelievably difficult and imposing challenge we will often quickly and flippantly acknowledge fulfillment of One. Do you love God with everything you have? Yes! I happen to think that our lives would look much different if we actually fulfilled One! Yet, we quickly embrace this challenge because we can attest to fulfillment and avoid scrutiny and challenge because this is such an internal and private undertaking.