Loving God: Our Highest Goal

Lesson 2001
Tags: Love; God; Priorities
Excerpted from The Disciplines of the Christian Life

What should be our highest goal in life?

Matthew 22
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Mark 12
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 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.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Luke 10
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

What kind of love does God desire?

  • A supreme love: We should love God above all else. Loving Him is our highest duty and privilege.
  • A unique love: He alone is God. No one else is worthy of the love that He deserves. Our other affections should pale in comparison to our love for Him.
  • A consuming love: Our love for God should possess our whole being. No part of our lives should be withheld.

How can we cultivate the kind of love that God desires?

  • Meditating on His love for us (1 John 4:19)
  • Reading His Word
  • Praying
  • Associating with others who love Him

What kinds of lifestyle changes might this kind of love require?

  • Taking time to engage in spiritual disciplines
  • Forsaking worldly pursuits (1 John 2:15-16)

For further reading

  • Köstenberger, Andreas J. “Great Commandment.” Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions. Ed. A. Scott Moreau. Grand Rapids: Baker; Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Paternoster, 2000.
  • Man, Ron. “The Great Commandment & the Great Commission.” Viewpoint [Reformation & Revival Ministries] Sep.-Oct. 2000: 6-7.
  • Morris, Leon. “Love.” Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Ed. Joel B. Green and Scot McKnight. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992.