“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”Matthew 22:36-37
Love God first and most. In Sunday school that didn’t sound very hard to me. I remember on the way home one day picking a fight with my brother and then stopping just before my mom turned around. My brother was the one who ended up in trouble while I got off scot-free. I was gleeful!
What did I love most at that moment? Many things—winning that round of sibling rivalry, feeling clever, deceiving my parents. Many loves trumped my love for God. What sounded easy— loving God first and best—turned out to be impossible. My heart, as John Calvin famously said, “is a perpetual factory of idols.” What it seems I love most at any given moment is the substitute god I am worshipping.
As we recognize this “love problem” in our lives, we can get sucked into an endless idol hunt, plumbing the depths of our mind and motives. But we won’t be able to find them all. We won’t fully forsake them all. When one idol is removed, another pops up. Our love problem is not solved by us, but by the love of God, who gave His only Son to save us.
“This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)