Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ –Matthew 22:34-39
What does it mean to love God? Strong’s Concordance* describes the Greek word, agapaó, used here for loving God as meaning to prefer God. It derives from the Greek word for God’s love, Agape. Loving God also speaks of wishing God well which I believe refers to supporting God’s purposes. Other descriptors of this type love include taking pleasure in God, longing for God, and holding God in esteem. It also denotes the love of reason as loving God.
The same word is used to describe how we are to love our neighbors. Here is where the rubber meets the road. We can extol God in word and song, but the way we love our neighbors demonstrates how we serve God’s purpose.
I liked the idea of loving God meaning preferring God over all others. The other ideas made sense to me. I was, however, surprised with the love of reason describing loving God. It makes sense. God created us in God’s image and gave us brains with which to reason. I wonder if the greatest sin in our world today is forgoing reason for selfish ends?
Prayer: Lord, help us discipline ourselves to using our power to reason to effect a world that reflects your purposes. Amen.