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The Most Important Thing in the Bible

by: Lisa Robertson

When I was younger, I used to think of sinful things as if they were in categories. So if a sister had issues with addictions, I would find someone who had overcome addictions to help her. If another woman had experienced childhood sexual abuse, I would step up to the plate because I had experienced it myself, and God had rescued me from the hellhole that my life had become.

However, as I get a few years on me, I realize that all human struggle has its origins in the same place, and the path to liberation is also the same.

Someone asked Jesus once what the greatest commandment in all the Bible was. His answer was astonishingly simple:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

The Oneness of God

In just a few words, Jesus tells us what is important. First, to recognize the oneness of God. God has complete unity with himself. He doesn’t need anything beside himself. In other words, God is complete in every way. To hear some preachers tell it, God is just sitting on pins and needles just waiting for us to go to church, to read our Bible more, or to pray more. But God is ONE — he is a completely unified being. God doesn’t need us — we need God. He can survive quite well without us, but we will never make it without him.

Love God With Everything You Have

Jesus shines the light on the only path to God — to love him with everything inside us (all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength). Truthfully, when I began to catch little glimpses of the nature of God, it became easier for me to love him. I’d been trying to whip up my emotions for God, but that didn’t work out so well. But when God began to reveal himself to me, my love for him began to grow. That’s because, even though he is completely self-sufficient, he is a God of incomprehensible love. I can never fully understand his love for me because I can’t really fathom how majestic and awesome he is.

Nor can I really understand just how broken, evil, and wicked I was without him. In other words, I can’t grasp how impossibly wide the gulf is between God and me (the one I created when I sinned against his nature). But knowing that the chasm that is between us is so enormous that I can’t understand it makes me long for him more. Yes, he is holy and completely righteous, and yes, I am filthy and dirty, but he loves me in spite of myself. He bridged the impossible.

This is important because I can’t really love him until I know how much he loves me. I can fear him and seek to please him by being good, but in all the years I tried to make him love me more by being more lovable, I never could accomplish it. That’s because he could never love me more than he already did. And I will never be free to pursue him or love him with everything in me until I understand that his love is beyond my understanding. He became life-sustaining for me.

Love Others

Once I’ve been set free to love God, the most amazing thing happens — I begin to love other people the way that God loves me. It’s not so much that I force myself to love them that way but that his love for me and my love for him compel me to love others. It becomes second nature. It’s the first fruit of his Spirit living in me. He has to become life-sustaining for you too.

What’s your struggle? Sexual addictions? Drugs? Materialism? Gossip? Slander? Are you short tempered and abusive? Do you struggle with body image or eating disorders? The reason that Jesus said that loving God was the single most important commandment in all of the Bible is that the God we love is far bigger than all of our “issues.” His grace is stronger than any of our sin. His mercy is higher than any barrier we have built between us and God.

Experts can help us sort through things. They were a tremendous help to us. They are of great worth! But what we need more than anything is to know, really know, the God who raises the dead. Only he sustains life. He changed my life, but I don’t know why. All I know is that he means more to me than any earthly thing — I love him dearly.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash