Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment." (Mark 12:28-30)
The answer that Jesus gave was from God's word, as Jesus referenced Deut. 6:5; 10:12 and Deut. 30:6.
God created humans in His image and calls humans to love Him with all of our being - heart, soul, mind, and strength. In other words to truly put God first and love God with all our being.
God calls us to a love for Him that God Himself has already given and demonstrated to humanity.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
Please don't miss the significance of the truth of this passage... don't rush past without realizing the love of what eternal, infinite, holy God has done for you and for me. Perhaps the following passage from God's word will help us understand and realize how much God has first loved us.
Speaking about God the Son, Jesus, the Bible tells us, "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. " (Philippians 2:6-8)
I'm reminded of one of my favorite Christmas songs (though it's not officially a Christmas song) by Steven Curtis Chapman, "Heaven in the Real World." There is a wonderful line in this song that goes, "It happened one night, with a tiny Baby's birth. God heard Creation crying, and He sent Heaven to earth!"
God loves you and has proven His love through the cross of Jesus Christ! God loves you and in that love God has provided the only way for sinful human beings to be reconciled in a personal relationship with Him - a relationship founded in love.
The greatest emotion of a person's soul is that of true love. The greatest thing a person can ever do is love God with all of our being - your heart ( the core or very "heart" of a person); your soul (our true innner self that is the real you and is the source or seat of emotions); your mind (our will, our intellect, understanding, and intent); your strength (that physical aspect and ability by which we are to actually "live out" our love for God in our daily lives).
In this greatest of all commandments, the word for "love" Jesus uses is a form of the Greek word "agape." "Agape" is the highest form of love possible, it is God’s love. "Agape" is a love of the will, a love of true total commitment and action; a love where one chooses to love regardless of feelings, a sacrificial love, even unto death.
If we are capable of loving other humans in such a way that we would lay down our life, how much more so should we love God who has already given God the Son to lay down His life on the cross for you and me!
We are to love God with "agape" love, we are to love God our heavenly Father with our heart, from the inner, true self; we are to love God with our emotions; we are to love God with our intellect and will; and we are to love God with all our ability, as we are able. This is "agape" love, not superficial but genuine and coming from our most inner self and the greatest emotion, that of love; intentionally and willfully loving God with all our ability.
God will not make you love Him. That is not a genuine, true relationship of love.
"We love Him because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
HIGHER THOUGHTS: How can a human love God like this? On our own we cannot. But when a lost sinner believes in Jesus, by faith repents and calls on Jesus to save him or her, that redeemed, born-again believer in Jesus Christ is indwelled by God the Holy Spirit. And as genuine Christians live in the Spirit of God, we also walk in the Spirit, are led by God the Holy Spirit, and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And in Galations chapter 5 we read the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The first one listed is love, and the original Greek tells us... it is “agape” love.
We are to love God with the same love as God loves us, we are to put God first in our lives, and we are to love God with all that we are.
Loving God is the mark of a genuine born-again believer in Jesus Christ. And obeying God is the mark of a genuine love for God. The believer in Jesus loves to obey God and at the same time hates to sin and disobey God. The genuine Christian wants to please our heavenly Father because we realize how much God first loved us and we now love God with all our being.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3)
"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)
God is love and God loves us more than words can say. It should not surprise us then that when asked, Jesus said the greatest commandment is for humans to love God back!
God doesn't love us half-heartedly, superficially, or when He has spare time. God is love and God loves us with His infinite love. Understandably, God calls us to love Him with all our heart because a true relationship is one of love from the heart. Not half-hearted, but loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength - loving God with all our being.
What a blessed, loving relationship God desires with us!
If you are seeking God, know that God loves you and calls you to seek Him, not half-heartedly or superficially, but with all your heart. (Deut. 4:29; Jeremiah 29:13).
"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)