The Great Commandment
"The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:29-30).
Man has made the will of God so very complex through his arguments and debates over scripture. But in a single verse Jesus sums up the whole will of God toward man; to Love Him. It is only through this genuine love for God, that all other commandments can be obeyed to the satisfaction of God. Jesus said, this is the greatest commandment of all.
A fountain is a spring of water flowing downward covering everything below it, there is no place left untouched. When we obey the great commandment, to love God, it is like the spring which flows downward to "love our neighbor", then from there to, "thou shalt not covet" and, "thou shalt not kill" and so forth, and that from this love, "hang all the law and the prophets", nothing is left untouched.
I have read that "God is love", I have also read that "God is a spirit". Therefore our love for God must be spiritual. The complete opposite of spiritual love is indeed carnal love. Paul told the Romans that, "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8). In 7:14, Paul said, "for we know that the law is spiritual".
The born-again christian must walk in the spirit or all that he does is wood, stubble, and hay (carnal) in the sight of God. Paul gives an account of a carnal church, "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" 1 Corinthians 3:3. When men love and worship God in spirit and in truth, there is no envy, strife or division in the church. Does not the scripture say, "...Love covers all sins?" (Proverbs 10:12).
The fountain of love must pass through God who is Spirit, or it cannot flow in spirit downward towards the love for our neighbor nor from there to all other commandments. Paul said, "if the root be holy, so are the branches." (Romans 11:16).
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God..." (1 John 5:2).
— By Randy Munter Editor/Webmaster
The Great Commandment
by Thomas Watson
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart." God will have the whole heart. We must not divide our love between Him and sin. The true mother would not have the child divided, nor will God have the heart divided; it must be the whole heart. We must love God for Himself, for His own intrinsic excellencies. We must love Him for His loveliness. It is a harlot's love to love the portion more than the person. Hypocrites love God because He gives them corn and wine: we must love God for Himself; for those shining perfections which are in Him.
Love to God must be active in its sphere. Love is an industrious affection; it sets the head studying for God, hands working, feet running in the ways of His commandments. It is called the labor of love. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 Mary Magdalene loved Christ, and poured her ointments on Him. We think we never do enough for the person whom we love. If we love God, our desire will be after Him. "The desire of our soul is to thy name" (Isaiah 26:8). He who loves God, breathes after communion with Him. "My soul thirsts for the living God" (Psalm 42:2). Persons in love desire to be often conferring together. He who loves God, desires to be much in His presence.
He who loves God cannot find contentment in any thing without Him. Lovers faint away if they have not a sight of the object loved. A gracious soul can do without health, but cannot do without God, who is the health of His countenance. Psalm 43:5. If God should say to a soul that entirely loves Him, "Take thy ease, swim in pleasure, solace thyself in the delights of the world; but thou shalt not enjoy My presence:" this would not content it. Nay, if God should say,"I will let thee be taken up to heaven, but I will retire into another room, and thou shalt not see my face;" it would not content the soul. It is hell to be without God. The philosopher says there can be no golden joy in the soul without God's sweet presence and influence.
He who loves God, weeps bitterly for His absence. Mary comes weeping, "They have taken away my Lord" (John 20:13). One cries, "My health is gone" another, "My estate is gone" but he who is a lover of God, cries out, "My God is gone! I cannot enjoy Him whom I love." If Rachel mourned greatly for the loss of her children, what can shadow out the sorrow of that Christian who has lost God's sweets presence? Let us be persuaded to love God with all our heart and might. O let us take our love off from other things, and place it upon God. Love is the heart of Christianity, the fat of the offering; it is the grace which Christ inquires most after. "Simon lovest thou me?" (John 21:15).