“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul, and with all your strength.”
— Deuteronomy 6:5 niv
One of the most interesting places I have ever visited is India. With all that is difficult about the place, the greatest conflict occurs within the religious environment of the country. While this nation is extremely religious, with over 79.8% of them identified Hindus, there is an absence of absolutes in nearly the total population. As I have shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with thousands and thousands of Hindus, I have witnessed many of them take the decision to call on Jesus with “faith” only to watch them have a change of mind when I proclaim that Jesus ALONE is God, and all others are merely the works of man. In other words, they are eager to add Jesus to their list, but are unwilling to proclaim Him as the only Lord.
In Scripture the highest truth of God is that He alone is God. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 we read “The Shema” which is the central prayer in the Jewish prayerbook and is often the first section of Scripture that a Jewish child learns. Verse 4 declares, “The Lord is one!” There is none other than Him.
As the only true God, He gives us the right and responsibility to love Him. Our love for the Lord must be sincere and strong which means that we do not simply love Him for what He does, but we love Him for who He is. As we think about this we realize that we are nothing if not for Him. The love we have from Him comes from our heart which is the seat of our understanding and the center of our personality. It is the inner nature of man, including his intellectual, emotional, and cognitive abilities. God is calling for us to be all in with our love for Him.
In a world that is constantly clamoring for our affection and attention, our Heavenly Father gives us a clear directive to set our heart and soul upon Him, above all else.
When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day questioned Him about the greatest commandment of all His response was set in today’s verse:
“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30-31)
If Jesus proclaimed this truth, it would be wise for us to commit it to our memory.