love God | Deuteronomy 6.4-9
Taking time out from the Gospel of John for one week to reflect on what Jesus identifies as the center of all spiritual and religious life, what we’ll call here the “Jesus Creed”…
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 | ESV
We’re not great at the Great Commandment. In too many instances, we’re not even good at it. That, I believe is our primal problem. That is the lost soul of Christianity. If Jesus said that loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the most important commandment, then doesn’t it logically follow that we ought to spend an inordinate amount of our time and energy trying to understand it and obey it? We can’t afford to be merely good at the Great Commandment. We’ve got to be great at the Great Commandment. ~ Mark Batterson, Primal
Batterson’s book Primal is an exploration of what he calls “love to the fourth power” – love with the heart (compassion), soul (wonder), mind (curiosity), and strength (energy).
It’s a stirring challenge.
It’s convicting that in Jesus’ day the experts in the law, along with the rest of their culture, memorized, chanted, and prayed this passage in Deuteronomy. Three times a day. Every day.
But Jesus still said of those same expert theologians, “You don’t have the love of God in you.”
We need more than the words.
Our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength – compassion, wonder, curiosity, energy – must be captured, captivated, catapulted, consumed, unleashed in an unquenchable, slow-burning fire.
This is what is primal.
This is the center, the crux, the root, the driving, pulsating core of all spiritual life.
And that’s the key here.
The love of God is life. It’s bursting with compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy.
Not so much.
So the question comes to us: that may be a Bible under your arm (or on your Kindle Fire/iPhone/iPad), but what is the driving, pulsating core of your life – and are the words “driving” and “pulsating” words that people would associate with you and your spiritual life?
Would you say you are great at the Great Commandment? How about the church overall? Why or why not? What is the “driving, pulsating core” of your spiritual life?
Abba Father, forgive me for all the times I just memorize and recite the lines. Show me in deepening measure what it really means to love you with all my heartfelt compassion, all my soul-filled wonder, all my intellect-inspired curiosity, and with every ounce of energy stirring within me. And let me see the difference between that and merely being zealous over religion.