When love is not enough

By Not Known

A lady was almost ready to convert to Christianity after an outreach service. She asked if becoming a Christian meant giving up her existing faith. The answer was ‘yes’. This stopped her in her tracks and her conversion was delayed. When she did become a Christian her testimony was clear. She cited the first commandment (You shall have no other gods besides me) and has never looked back or looked elsewhere.

God calls people to love him. All else flows from that. Our services of worship, our acts of obedience and our giving of time, talent and treasure are all expressions of that underlying love. The call to love God was powerfully stated well before Jesus and also by him (eg Dt 6:4-5; Mrk 12:28-30). Note, however, that it is not enough just to love God. He wants us to love him with all of all that we are.

We are to love God with all that we are. Thus Deuteronomy speaks of loving God with heart, soul and strength. Jesus adds ‘mind’, thus clarifying the meaning to people with a Greek background. The point here is that the whole person is involved in love of God. It is not just an inward matter to love God (heart, soul, mind) nor a purely outward matter (strength). God made us as whole and unified people and every aspect of our being is called to love him.

Further, we are to love God with all of all that we are. All our heart, soul, mind and strength is to be devoted to God. And this is why God insists that we have no other gods before or even besides him (Ex 20:3). In this sense, a choice for the Lord becomes a choice against every other deity, whether the gods of other faiths or the secular gods of family, possessions, pleasure, ambition and such like.

Of course we all have other loves besides the Lord. Family is an obvious one. However, the point is that these other loves are to be within and subordinate to our love for the Lord. If he is not loved before all else, he is not loved at all. Those who are not yet believers need to be like the lady mentioned above. The Lord is not to be loved alongside other gods but in place of them. Those of us who are believers need to regularly examine ourselves to ensure that no other loves threaten our devotion to the Lord.

Finally, note that loving the Lord with all of all we are, is nothing more than a response to his great love (Ex 20:2; 1 Jn 4:10). Our love to him is but an echo of his love for us in the Lord Jesus.

David Burke