Loving the Lord

With all your heart, soul, mind, and strength

By Mark Kraus

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 6:5
This is what Jesus referred to as the greatest commandment. In our fallen human nature, it is impossible to obey. There is no way a person, in his or her own strength, can love God with his/her whole being 24 hours a day. So, then, since disobeying God's commandment (any one of them) is sin, we will find ourselves constantly sinning. Then is God unfair to give us this commandment?

God has put up a standard we, in our fallen nature, cannot meet — Matthew 5:48 says, "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Even though we cannot meet it in our own strength, God will conform us to Jesus (Romans 8:29), and we can meet this standard in His strength. So how do we deal with having a standard we can't meet? First, upon realizing we haven't met it, we need to see our shortcoming as sin and confess it as such. Then God will cleanse us from the unrighteousness of the sin (1 John 1:9). After confessing that our not-obeying the command as sin, we should ask God to increase our ability to obey the command, much as the man in Mark 9 asked Jesus to help his shortcoming in belief. We need His strength to enable us to love Him as He commands.

We do, however, have the comforting knowledge that God helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). As newborn Christians, we are often aware of our inability to meet God's standard. As we grow in Christ, we also grow in our ability to meet God's standard, but as long as we have our imperfect human natures we will be unable to obey all of God commands. Paul brought this out in Romans 7, where he said, "So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." (verse 25) If Paul had to struggle with an inability to "be perfect as [God] is perfect", we should expect to as well. And, like Paul, we can be sure that God will forgive our failure to be perfect, and He will help us to become more and more like Jesus and perfect as we continue in our Christian growth.

Image Credit: Art4TheGlryOfGod; "Love the Lord, Your God..."; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Sin-Evil

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Published on 2-3-16