Scripture Challenge: Matthew 22:37-39

It’s been a while since I posted something on here and I now that i finally have the time to do it, I’m coming up short on what to write about. I thought I’d give another scripture challenge a try. Ironically, I’m pretty sure this particular verse was read this past weekend at church. 

Here’s today’s scripture off Bible Gateway: 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39NIV

 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

To really understand this I decided to take a look at the 22nd chapter of Matthew a little closer. I wanted to know to whom it was Jesus was talking. As it turns out Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees. Since I’m not particularly strong in biblical history I decided to google these people. According to wikipedia, the Sadducees are a sect of Jews who were in charge of maintaining the temple. It also appears that they were of a higher and more prestigious socio-economic class. 

Jesus was prompted by one of the Sadducees to tell him what the greatest commandment of all was. The above was his response. But what does it really mean? Love your Lord your God with all your heart, means not to be a Sunday Christian. It means to love the Lord so much that each and every act is done with him in mind. On a personal level I equate it to the way that I consider my husband before I make household decisions. It’s easy to consider him because he is a physical presence in my life. What the first part of this reading is saying though, is to love God in that same way. Do things because they are what God would want. Do things because the being that loves you most in this world would want it that way. 

The verse goes on to say to love the Lord your God with all your soul. This is a harder one personally to quantify. What does it mean to do something with all your soul. To figure out what this meant I took to google. (What a handy little friend!). After looking at a few blogs it turns out that people distinguish loving with your soul from your heart by noting that your soul is a matter of devotion, your heart is a matter of affection. I consider my husbands wishes each day because I love him, the same way I suggested in the previous paragraph that I need to make decisions by asking myself if it was what the God who loves me would want. In this case though, it become a matter of doing things because you’ve made the commitment to do so. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you undoubtedly make a commitment to God. At some points it’s going to be hard to keep, but loving him with all your soul means that you do it anyway. I imagine a situation where God is challenging you. Maybe he’s telling you that you need to be kind or helpful to someone whom you have absolutely no desire to be kind and helpful to. When you love your Lord with all your soul, you do it anyway. Because pleasing him is more than a matter of love, it’s a matter of devotion. You do it because it is what He wants. 

The final part of the triad is to love the lord with all your mind. I’ll be honest, I had to take to google again and read the thoughts of some others here. I believe what the reading means when it says to love God with all your mind it means to think on the words of the bible daily. Share the words of the bible daily. Share your faith and beliefs with others. Loving the Lord with all your mind means to be cognisant of Him in all that you do. 

Then Jesus declares, This is the first and the greatest commandment of them all.

Jesus probably says this to emphasize the importance of this commandment. While it is important to follow the other teachings, it feels as if He is saying that if we cannot do this, we will some how be following the rest in vain. We need to obey this first commandment, so that we can have any hope of obeying the rest.

Finally, Jesus says, ‘And the second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The interpretation of the last part of this reading is easy enough to understand. It’s been taught to most people since they were a child. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated. But this is one that falls severely short in practice. It is one thing to be kind to another person. As a people-pleaser I find kindness towards other normally pretty easy. The problem is, the verse doesn’t actually say “treat others as you’d like to be treated”, it says love your neighbor as yourself. I believe this to mean that at a much deeper level we need to treat others with love. Love encompasses such features as patience, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, and kindness. This is very hard to do. And I believe that this in many ways is where loving God with all your mind comes into play. Some times loving your  neighbor is going to require a constant thought of God, and how he would want you to treat them.

This is just my few thoughts on the daily verse off biblegateway.com. I hope I did the verses justice and that somewhere, someone gains something from my consideration of the verse. God Bless!

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