The Pharisees and Sadducees were two groups of men in the days of Jesus that were as different as Protestants vs Catholics or Republicans vs Democrats. The Pharisees believed in resurrection and an afterlife. The Sadducees believe when your life was over…you were over…no afterlife. Together 70 of them made up the Sanhedrin like our US Senate.
Jesus has just finished putting the Sadducees in their place…which He loved to do. Then would come to Him with the most difficult questions but His answers shut them every time. Jesus has just finished doing this with the Sadducees and they were walking away humiliated again. So, now it was the Pharisee’s turn to play Stump the Christ question of the day. In Matthew 22:34-39…
“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
These Pharisees are huddled together trying to come up with a question impossible to answer…or so they thought and in the response, Jesus gave to them we learn what Jesus said is the greatest of all the commandments in the Law of the Hebrews. We all know that God gave to Israel the 10 Commandments or the Big 10 I like to call them. However, over the years the Hebrews…most notably the Pharisees managed to stretch the Big 10 into 613 sub-laws
Now, we do not know if they were meaning the Big 10 or the Smaller 613 laws but which one would Jesus say was the greatest of all the commandments. And Jesus responds…
And he said to him, “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. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Notice carefully what Jesus answered because it is the answer for us as well. It is not a physical activity believers are supposed to do like going to church and taking communion but it is an emotion demonstrated by one’s actions. Jesus specifically tells them and us that we are to love God first and foremost and our love for God should we with all our heart…all our soul…and all of our mind.
People can say they love God. It is easy to tell God and anyone else for that matter that you love them. I say it to my wife and family members fairly regularly. However, am I loving God with ALL my mind, soul, and strength? And how are these three things different from one another?
Our Heart…to love God with all our heart means that we love God more than anything or anybody. In Greek, the word for love here is the word, agape love. It means to give our full affections and love to God first and foremost. And if we are loving Him with all our hearts then His will for our lives will be the thing we are wanting to do the most. Unfortunately, when one has become addicted to porn our capacity to love is diminished. We see people as objects for us to use and throw away and we have become double-minded. We have times of loving God and times for lusting after sex.
If we are feeding the lusts of the flesh, we cannot be loving God at the same moment. Are you wholehearted for God or double-minded with sex? This is why I emphasize our need to begin and end our day with the Lord…offering our body to Him as a living sacrifice and asking the Spirit to fill us and influence us so that we do not give in to the desires of our flesh.
Our Soul…is referring to loving God with all of ourselves. Our soul is the eternal part of us that leaves our body when it dies. It is really the life within our bodies. It is who we really are and we are told to love God with all our soul…or all of our life.
This is extremely difficult to do if we are not loving God with all of our minds. If we are the captain of our ship and the master of our soul we want to do with our life whatever we desire to give our life to doing. Here is a great question to ask yourself…
Is God’s Will for My Life What I Really Want?
If it is then you will be pursuing His will in whatever you are doing. You see your job, family, and life as a gift from God and you surrender it all to Him and live under the obligation that all you have is His and you surrender it to Him daily.
Our Mind…is perhaps the easiest to focus on. Our mind is the control center of the body. And what we put into our minds is going to have a direct impact on what we think, feel, and do. When we are putting into our mind pornography, we cannot be loving God with our minds. This incredible part of our body is made for so much more than looking at images or videos of naked people. It can be used to learn more about God, the Lord, and His Spirit.
It can be used to learn of God from the Creation. And now thanks to the internet there are more things to see in God’s creation than there are porn sites. Look at the Stars, the Heavens, the galaxy, the Earth, the animals, and insects on the earth. The creation is a virtual encyclopedia of the infinite creative ability of our God.
And then to top it off we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. The more we work on loving God with all of our mind, soul, and strength the more we will love our neighbors and we will love ourselves.
Today love your God…love your neighbors…and love yourself.