More than a Feeling
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
I hope that any observer would be able to look at my life and see that I love my wife and children. I spend more time with them than anyone else, I enjoy simply being with them, and I have a have a genuine interest in what’s best for them. I don’t do it perfectly, but daily, I try to make choices that show my family how much I love them.
This hasn’t always been the case. It’s not that I’ve ever consciously decided I don’t love my family. It’s just that I’ve engaged in behaviors that would have made it clear to any observer that I didn’t put them first. I wish this was only about my drug addiction, but that’s just the most obvious example. In following my way above all, I’ve displaced my family from the place they should hold in my life, causing tremendous misery for them and me.
This is similar to the relationship that Jesus insisted we’re supposed to have with God. In today’s passage, a Pharisee questioned Christ, asking what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
With that phrase – all your heart, soul, and mind – Jesus was saying that, like me with my family, our actions should make it clear that we love God. We should spend time with him, we should seek his will, and we should live as he asks. Someone watching should see that God is the most important person in our lives.
In my addiction, I said I loved my family above all. I certainly felt that I did. I failed to love them with my actions though. In my recovery, I’m relearning behavior that puts them first. Love for family isn’t just an emotion, it’s a way of life.
Likewise, love for God isn’t just a feeling we get while singing on Sunday mornings. Love is how we act the rest of the week. Jesus said that the most important thing we must do daily, is to point our lives at him. If we call ourselves Christians and if we say we love God above all, then it should be obvious to anyone watching. True love is revealed by our actions.