The Text

28 One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

31 The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, teacher. You have correctly said that he is one, and there is no one else except him.

33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is far more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to question him any longer.

The Devotion

The scribe gets it.

Do we get it?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (CSB) If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

All the gifts. All the noise. All the tweets. All the followers. All the views. All the subscribers. All the members. All the fund raising.

What good is that if we don’t love God and love other people?

Loving other people – that could be messy in our modern world since the word “love” is jacked up beyond all repair. And none more evident than most people assumption that they love God when in their hearts, they really do not.

It had nothing to do with saying the sinner’s prayer as a kid (me) or growing up in church or being a pastor or anything that we have done.

Is the Triune God in you? Has the Father ripped your heart out and put his in yours–so he can make his dwelling with you?

Is Christ in you? Saving you and cleansing you from your sins and from all unrighteousness?

Is the Spirit in you? Growing, strengthening you, maturing you, sharpening you, increasing your love for God and less for the world more and more.

Or are we playing church and keeping appearances or trying to complete a checklist so that God will give us what we want and then leave us alone?

What is it going to be? Choose on this day on whom you will serve.

The Discussion

1. How do we know we love God? Is it our perfection and lack of sinning?
2. You may say you are a Christian. But what would people around you say that you are?
3. What is the difference between assuming we are saved and "working out our salvation with fear and trembling?"

Philippians 2:12-16 (CSB) Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing.

4. The fear of the Lord can be a scary thing. But what does the Bible say about fearing the Lord?

The Prayer from the Psalms

Psalm 17 (CSB)
A prayer of David.

1 LORD, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry; listen to my prayer— from lips free of deceit.

2 Let my vindication come from you, for you see what is right.

3 You have tested my heart; you have examined me at night. You have tried me and found nothing evil; I have determined that my mouth will not sin.

4 Concerning what people do: by the words from your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.

5 My steps are on your paths; my feet have not slipped.

6 I call on you, God, because you will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say.

7 Display the wonders of your faithful love, Savior of all who seek refuge from those who rebel against your right hand.

8 Protect me as the pupil of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings

9 from the wicked who treat me violently, my deadly enemies who surround me.

10 They are uncaring; their mouths speak arrogantly.

11 They advance against me; now they surround me. They are determined to throw me to the ground.

12 They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13 Rise up, LORD! Confront him; bring him down. With your sword, save me from the wicked.

14 With your hand, LORD, save me from men, from men of the world whose portion is in this life: You fill their bellies with what you have in store; their sons are satisfied, and they leave their surplus to their children.

15 But I will see your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with your presence.

O Father,
You are God of the Universe. Holy, righteous, just. High above my idols. High above my sins. High above my faults. High above the twisted wickedness of my own heart. In no way could I have ever approach you.

But you, O Lord, abundant in mercy and rich in grace, made the way. You sent your Son to come get me. Now I am yours.

I am your son. You are my Father. You attention is quick. Your ear inclines to my voice. You heard me the first time. You know what I need. You wait for me to speak to you. You commune with me. You are unified with me. And I am with you forever.

I am your darling. I am your love.

I was once wicked. I was once violently opposed your glorious name. But you spoke to me, called to me and made me your friend.

Although your enemies try to turn against me, your Son has delivered the killing blow to sin, tragically crippled Satan and his demons, and struck the death-knell unto Death. My enemies are mortally weak. My enemies lack power. My enemies are soundly defeated.

Now, I carry out your great commission. I go forward with the command to love you and love others. By your strength, I will run this race well. One day, you will come and get me or bring me home. On that day, my heart will now finally be filled. I will be fully satisfied because I will have held my Savior’s face and kiss His face with ten thousand kisses.

I love you.

In your Son’s beautiful name, I pray.
Amen.