In Mark 12:28 Jesus gets asked a serious question. It’s a good question. It’s something that still has implications for us today. Jesus was asked, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” There are many great commands to live by, but what do you think Jesus would say is most important?
Jesus chooses his answer carefully and responds: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (quoting Deuteronomy 6:5). In other words, Jesus is saying the most important thing we can do is love God with every part of our being. Notice how this command doesn’t give us the permission to only love him halfway. We’re called to love him completely, with every thought, desire, and action, and in every area of our lives. Is your love for God growing to look more and more like this? How can you tell?
Five evidences of a growing love for God:
- An increasing desire to spend time with God. As with any healthy relationship, spending time getting to know and hear from God helps us love him more. We can do that by reading his Word. The Bible allows us to hear from God, know his character, and see his promises. (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 73:25-26)
- An increasing desire to depend on God. Trust is a critical component of any relationship. As we prayerfully depend on the Lord more and more with our lives, our trust (and ultimately our love) for him will grow. In prayer we acknowledge that we are not in control and look to the God who is. We know that God is sovereign, faithful, and good, so we can trust that he is working all things together for our own good. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Romans 8:26-28)
- An increasing desire to please God. We are created in his image, to bring him glory. All of life is all for him. The way we live, the way we work, and the way we play all reflect back on him. As our affection for him increases, so will our desire to honor him in everything we do. (Colossians 3:23-24; Romans 12:1-2)
- An increasing desire to tell others about God. When you fall in love with something, you instinctively want others to know about it. The people around us know all about our favorite vacation spots, sports teams, TV shows, hobbies, and the places we like to shop or dine. The same will be true of God as we treasure him more. (Psalm 96, 145; Matthew 5:14-16, 28:18-20)
- An increasing desire to gather with God’s people. Being around others who love God becomes more enticing as our own love for him grows. We get to encourage and remind one another of God’s goodness, and we get to praise his name together. There can be great joy found in a shared affection. (Ephesians 5:18-21; Hebrews 10:24-25)
Remember, there is only one person who ever perfectly loved God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s Jesus. It’s Christ’s perfect love for the Father that covers our inability to do so. In Christ we have been given a new heart, new desires, and a new spirit living within us. So we are able to respond in love because he first loved us. Let’s remember this good news, and ask the Lord to give us an increasing affection for him.
What are the ways in which you are currently growing in your love for God?