Today’s Bible Reading: Mark 12
If you were to sum up your life’s purpose in one or two sentences, could you do it? When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, his life’s purpose was being fulfilled. He spent his last week teaching and clarifying what the Law really required. In Mark 12, Jesus is being questioned by the religious leaders. They are trying to trick him into saying something that will either expose him as a fraud or catch him saying something that will inflame the people and discredit his ministry. They ask him about paying taxes (something sure to divide the crowd of Jew and Romans), the Resurrection (something the religious sects could not agree on), and finally about the Law (something that the religious leaders followed to the minutest detail). What is the most important part of the Law? Is it more important to not commit murder or not steal or keep the Sabbath? Jesus saw their intentions and answered every question with wisdom that amazed both the leaders and the crowds. With his answer to the final question, he silenced them all. His response was to love God first and love others second.
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. 30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
I wonder what the people thought when they heard Jesus say this. They were all following a set of strict rules to prove their love for God. If you were to ask them if they loved God, they would surely point to all of their observances as proof of their love. But really, what does it mean to “love God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength”? And then there is also the part of loving your neighbor as yourself. Essentially, Jesus was saying that if you allowed these two commandments to fill your mind, rule your thoughts, and be reflected in your every decision and action, you would be fulfilling the whole requirement of the Ten Commandments. If we truly love God, we will want to obey his every word. We will look at the sin that is tempting us, and the knowledge that it hurts the one we love the most will compel us to turn away from it. When you really love someone, you want to make them happy, even if it means denying yourself in the short term (and your entire life is short-term in comparison to eternity). You may still want to engage in a sinful behavior, but your love for God will be stronger than your desire. When you love your neighbor (who really is anyone that you come into contact with), you will put their interests first. Your love for them will trump your own sinful desires. When we love God and others, sin loses its attraction, and we are able to fulfill our life’s purpose.
In what ways are you loving God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength? How have you behaved towards others in your life, especially those who love you? Could you in turn show them your love? Is there an area of your life that you need to surrender to God so that you can love him more fully?
Think about your life’s purpose. Try to come up with a couple sentences that express why God put you here on Earth. Come up with a plan to fulfill that purpose.
21 Days of Prayer – Day 19
Prayer Focus: My Freedom (Galatians 5:1)
Thank you, God, for freeing me! You have freed me from sin and from shame. You have freed me from the law and from striving to earn salvation. You have freed me from death itself! For all those things and more, I praise you. Help me to live as someone who is free. Don’t let me fall back into the posture of a slave, to fall back into serving the things that used to control me. May you be the only one I serve, for you bought my freedom and loyalty at a high price on the cross. In gratitude I ask, may your will be done in my life. Amen.
21 Days of Prayer – Day 20
Prayer Focus: My Growth (Ephesians 4:15)
Heavenly Father, I am not who I was before I met you—and it’s all because of you. Thank you for the growth I have been through, and thank you that you’re not finished with me yet! Teach me to be more and more like your son every day. Help me to submit humbly to the situations you use to change my heart, even when I wouldn’t choose these situations for myself. Above all else, may I grow in love for you and for others. In Jesus’ name I pray! Amen.
21 Days of Prayer – Day 21
Prayer Focus: Worshiping Him (John 4:23)
Dear Father, I worship you with all my heart and soul. I want to sing your praises from early in the morning when the sun rises until late at night when the day has passed. I am so grateful to be allowed to be your child and your love washes over me. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.
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