What Do You Consider to Be
Your Greatest Need?
On February 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to the United States on what is considered to be one of the most important, if not the most important date in music history. Their appearance on Sullivan’s show catapulted the Beatles to unimaginable heights in music history. Just think, this was in a time before the internet, social media, cell phones and the constant connection we have available to us today. Despite the lack of internet reach they took the country by storm. Regardless of your age your life was probably touched in some way by their music. As we quickly approach Valentine’s Day I could not help but remember their song, ‘All You Need Is Love.’ I found a framed statement saying just that and have it above the door to my office. Every time I see it not only do I hear a refrain from the Beatles’ song but I also am reminded that all starts with love.
Who Is First In Your Heart?
When asked by a scribe which was the most important commandment of all, Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:29-30) At this time there were 613 statutes in the law that Jewish rabbis called the people to adhere to in their life. These laws were weighted as heavy or light commands.
Imagine the burden of having to remember and adhere to 613 edicts every day of your life! Jesus cut through all the red tape and boiled it all down to the most important requirement: to love God with all that you have and all that you are. He commands this love to be first with all your heart. It is first and always a heart issue. If you have God first in your heart you will find His love shed abroad there as you walk out each day.
Walking in His love you will impart His compassion to all you encounter.
To love God with your soul means to engage your emotions, attitude and will. Take a minute to think about each aspect of the word soul. This covers a lot of ground. Loving on each level requires clarity of purpose and vision.
To love with your mind is to engage your intellect. This is where you reason and try to make sense of things going on around you. Keeping your mind focused on Christ is necessary to walk in love. Bringing captive every thought that is not worthy of the Lord is essential to remain in His peace.
To love God with all your strength means to incorporate every aspect of your being. It means to hold back nothing but rather to release all to Him.
There can be a tendency to rush through this first most important commandment and reduce it to just a statement ‘love God first,’ without receiving the deeper meaning. Until the depth of this commandment is established first in your heart do not move on to the second most important commandment that Jesus declared. For without a complete acceptance of the first the second cannot unfold in its fullness.
Do You Love Yourself?
The second great commandment Jesus gave is: “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31) Remember, He reduced 613 statutes to two commandments which simply revolved around love.
Love of God and love of others…are they really that simple? How often do you experience resentment, bitterness, anger at another? Check your heart in these moments. Have you moved God from first position in your heart? Seek Him first and right away when you sense negativity against another. Do not let it snowball out of control.
By seeking Him first you immediately realign yourself with Him. In perfect alignment with Him you will then be hard pressed to continue in thoughts or words that would not be pleasing to Him. Pray for and release the other person to Him right away. Release yourself to Him.
To love others you must first love yourself. I am not talking about prideful love of self but of healthy self-esteem. Many Christians are out of balance on this issue. As they do not want to slip into pride they often become doormats for mean spirited people both in and out of church. Without a healthy love of self you could easily wound others.
There can also be a tendency to limit the fullness of God’s plan for you out of a misguided desire to ‘fit in.’ If you remain humble before the Lord and learn who you are in Christ pride will not be an issue. As you see yourself as God sees you will be able to walk out His destiny for you. You will then be able to love others as you love yourself.
Do You Have All You Need?
Love of God is first. Love of self comes next and progresses into love of others. During this week devoted to love take some time to really think about the two greatest commandments Jesus gives you. How are you doing in your love walk? Just remember, ‘All You Need Is Love!’
Quotes to Ponder This Week
“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.” ~Psalm 141:3-4
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ~Romans 5:5
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ….” ~Romans 16:17
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” ~1 Corinthians 16:13-14
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 10:5
A Prayer Request
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep all who serve our country, our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our front-line on the battlefield, let us be their front-line in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives.
God bless all our diplomatic and military personnel and their families. May the Lord keep them safe. Pray for all throughout the world for hedges of protection against radical Muslim extremists and all forms of terrorism. We have long prayed for spiritual victory over radical Islam in Esther’s Warriors Ministry. We now see the reality of this threat come to the forefront in this time in world history.
Please pray for all in authority over us, for the full truth to come forth concerning Benghazi and for safety in Israel. May God richly bless the United States of America, bring to light every single crooked place and keep her safe. May we may arise united once again as One Nation Under God in this auspicious season in our country’s history.
We continue to pray for truth to prevail as we saturate this country in prayer and stand for all that is right in America and for all of us who call ourselves American. These are treacherous times and now more than ever we must maintain our walk. Fail not in this hour.
Please Join Me in Prayer
Father we thank You for who You are to us. We thank You for Your grace, Your mercy, Your Son and Your Holy Spirit. Teach us to walk in Your ways by placing You first in our heart. Let Your Kingdom reign in our heart and in our life. Let us be a reflection of Your love to all we encounter. Grace us to love ourselves and see ourselves as You see us. Bring us to the fullness of who we are in Christ. Soften our heart to those around us and give us Your love to share with the lost and broken hearted. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.