Calvary Pastors This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors

Can you tell the difference between an honest question and a dishonest one? An honest question seeks a bona fide answer. A dishonest question, on the other hand, is not looking for an answer; it wants an argument because it has a point to prove.

At this stage in my life, I can tell fairly quickly whether I’m being asked an honest or dishonest question. Since I don’t much care for silly controversies over Scripture, the minute I identify a dishonest question, I quit talking. I’m just not interested in getting into a foolish dispute or argument. The Bible says, “If anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38). Of course, that verse can apply to me as well as to the next fellow!

One day a young man approached Jesus with a question. He had just watched a group of religious leaders ask the Savior a dishonest question and get roasted for it. He, however, had a genuine one: “Which is the first commandment of all?” he wondered.

You could tell this fellow had an honest question burning in his chest. In fact, this question should concern every man or woman who has ever become convinced of the existence of God. The man was asking, “Jesus, what is the most important thing in life?” He didn’t try to play a trivia game with Jesus. Nor was he asking about the first commandment God ever gave; that would be the order not to eat of the tree of good and evil in the middle of the garden of Eden. No, he wanted to know about the first commandment in order of importance. What was it? 

Jesus answered him, “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).

Jesus went clear back to Deuteronomy 6:4, to what is known as the Shema. This is the portion of Scripture that the Jews used to roll up and wear in little boxes on their wrists or place on their foreheads. On their feast days they would chant it when they gathered in the temple courts. The song would build and build as they called out together, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”

When Jesus calls us to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, and all of our strength, He means that the primary, most important and most basic purpose of our lives is to know and love the true and living God. That’s first, above everything else. We are to love and worship only the true and the living God—no one else.

And what a love He requires. Jesus says we are to love the one true God with all of our heart (the deepest area of our life), with all of our soul (the conscious area of our life), with all of our mind (the intellectual area of our life—an area that Jesus added to the list), and with all of our strength (the physical area of our life). In other words, He wants us to love God with everything in us, holding nothing back. In fact, we were made for exactly that purpose. God designed us in love that we might love Him in return. It’s the whole reason for our existence.

– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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