|The Christian life is meant to be marked by simplicity. Jesus summed up our purpose with two statements: love God and love people. But in our humanity we have made complex what God designed to be peaceful, purposeful, and simple. A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God, “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all. If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” May we discover the peace and joy that come from pursuing a simple Christianity this week.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”MATTHEW 22:37-38
How Great is Your Love | Phil Wickham
The world is an exhausted place. We search constantly for what should be most important or what deserves our attention from moment to moment. As the tides of societal values ebb and flow, so do our affections. We invest value and love into that which offers us nothing in return. And unfortunately the cares of this world have creeped into the people of God. Our gatherings are often marked by complexity and exhaustion. With program goals and achievements, we make complex what God intended to be so blessedly simple. We give our attention, energy, and love to that which isn’t always rooted in simply loving God.
When asked to highlight the most important commandment in all of Scripture, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). All of Christianity boils down to this one pursuit. And because we are to pursue loving God in all we do, all of life boils down to this single pursuit. Every single thing we do, whether it involves work, family, friends, church, entertainment, school, or solitude, is meant to be marked by the simplicity of loving God.
At the end of our days, the way we loved our heavenly Father will matter most. Our love for God matters more than any achievement, success, or program. It matters more than any possession, status, or relationship. And when we align our perspective with the first and greatest commandment, everything else comes into focus. When we pursue loving God above all else, all other pursuits fall into their proper places.
We were not created to offer our affections to anyone or anything but God first and foremost. To do otherwise is simply idolatry, and it will ruin the heavenly peace and simplicity God intends for his children. We create our own golden calves and ask them to satisfy us in ways only God can. We look to the world to offer us love it never had to begin with. But your heavenly Father is a wellspring of love and affection for you.
The commonly quoted verse John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” You will never be satisfied until you rest in the powerfully simple truth of Scripture that God has loved you and will always love you. And you will never experience the fullness of what Christ died to give you until you respond to his ceaseless love by crowning him Lord and loving him with every fiber of your being.
May you come to realize the beauty and fulfillment of a life lived in pursuit of God above all else as you spend time in prayer.
1. Meditate on the first and greatest commandment. Allow Scripture to be your foundation for truth and life.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
2. Reflect on your own life. What pursuits have become more important than loving God? What are you giving energy and affection to above relationship with your heavenly Father? What areas of your life are not being done as worship?
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”John 17:24-26
3. Confess your pursuits and receive God’s loving forgiveness.Crown him as Lord of your heart and life, and ask him to help you respond to his love with your own. Ask the Spirit to help you do all that is set before you as worship to your King. Take time to give him your affections now. Worship him. Thank him. Love him. Offer him the deepest places of your heart.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
You were created for worship. And until all that you do is done as worship to God, you will not experience the fullness of peace, joy, and purpose available to you through Christ. Rest, fun, work, friends, family, and church are all to be filled with the joy of loving God and being loved by him. He is the God of fun, parties, rest, and love. He has the absolute most abundant and joyful life in store for you if you will simply love him first and foremost. May you experience deeper relationship with your heavenly Father today and love him as he has loved you.