Jesus had a way of cutting through issues to get to the very heart of the matter. The religious establishment was forever trying to corner Him with trick questions. They were not seeking information. They simply wanted to trap Him. So, their question about the greatest command dripped with suspicious motives (Matthew 22:34-40). His answer was sincere, simple and worthy of a second look.
No advanced degrees are required to understand His response. It is summed up in a single word: Love. Directed simultaneously toward God and our neighbor, it is the ultimate life changer. We will never be the same whenever we commit to this simple principle. Our relationship with God will deepen dramatically when that is both motive and goal. The same is true of our human associations.
Love for God alters our approach to Bible study. He is the source of all of that information. It explains the nature of our invisible Creator. It is His self-revelation. This is what He wants us to know about Him. Thankfully, guesswork is eliminated. A lifetime of study will never uncover all that He has told us. Every time we think that we have figured Him out, His word shows us another side. Getting to know about someone we love is a delight, especially someone as amazing as our God.
Love takes His word seriously. Our utmost desire is to bring joy and pleasure to the one we wholeheartedly love, and His message explains how to do that. Each new day brings us countless opportunities to show Him and our neighbors how much he means to us. Jesus had clear intent in what He wanted the world to know about Him and how to accomplish it (John 14:31). Are we as focused?
Our love for the unseen God takes on very visible and practical expression in our interactions with people. Jesus said to love them. He did. We should, too. It is a quality that permeates the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 4:8). It exists wherever they are and shows through the steps that we take.
It is the one quality of disciples that distinguishes them from the masses (John 13:34-35). Their relationship with one another stands out and communicates to their community that there is something different about them. Their way of life is unique. It is attractive. The fingerprints of the clay’s potter are revealed in the appearance of the vessel. Christians are Christlike and Spirit produced (Galatians 5:22), the product of our loving Father.
It is the pinnacle. There is nothing higher, nobler or more desirable. It was intended to be the bull’s eye for the preacher’s arrows (1 Timothy 1:5). Miss this, and we miss excellence. Love God. Love our neighbor. A Christian’s life is directed by faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).