And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. (This is the first and principal commandment.)

// Mark 12:30 [AMP]

This may be one of the most well-known passages in the Bible, but I would contend it to be one of the least practiced and understood. Love – such a strong word that holds power and truth, while also being the key to unlocking so many areas of the heart. Our hearts and souls long for nourishment, contentment, embrace, and affection daily. As you and I both know, love is never a one-way street. In fact, when one person gives all of their love and does not receive anything back, it hurts; it’s disheartening, and truly depletes the essence of why it was originally given.

A scholar posed to Jesus the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  and Jesus’ reply was the above-quoted verse. His answer indicates an emphasis on that which has the most weight and dignity to God.

Jesus’ response implies a true desire that God wants His children to understand and lay as a foundation in their lives. The pure essence of God is love, grace, and mercy, which is the beginning of why He sent His son for you and me in the first place. Yes, it was because of sin, but His essence – love – outweighs all sin. So, if that is His essence and foundation, it should be ours! Love is the leading affection of the soul, and God’s love is what draws us daily. If it is not love, it is religion.

When we love God with everything, it takes us away from our old desires and we find completeness in Him. Similar to a marriage, when a husband and wife truly love each other, there is nothing that will satisfy them like the love they have for each other. My dad once told me, “Doing things for your mom is easy, because I love her and she loves me. None of it seems taxing because of the love I receive from her, and the priority I place on her love.”

I wonder if we are really allowing God to love us today, and giving Him affection as well. When this begins to happen, nothing will be able to rival Him or to take His place for the throne of our hearts.

// L.J. Slan