DOES GOD OCCUPY FIRST PLACE IN YOUR LIFE?
Vladimir Lenin was the leader who implemented Communism in the Soviet Union. In the early 1900s, he met with a small group of people in London and set down 4 “Totals” for the cause of Communism:
1. Total acceptance of the cause
2. Total dedication to the cause
3. Total discipline in the cause
4. Total action for the cause.
That’s what it looks like to totally love God.
A teacher of the Law asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
Here are 4 “Totals” for Loving God:
1. “With all your heart”: Without hypocrisy, from the very core of ourselves
2. “With all your soul”: Using your emotions to express your love with shouts of joy, singing, even crying.
3. “With all your mind”: Using your intellect by reading, studying, meditating on who he is through his revealed word.
4. “With all your strength”: Use everything you have, every ability, every gift, every talent, every strength mobilized for the Lord.
In other words, we are to love God with the entirety of our beings. God loved us in this way when he sacrificed his one and only Son. We should return to him that same kind of love. Do you love him in this way? This is radical, otherworldly love, separating the true from the poseur Christian.
There should be no other primary allegiance, not to America, not to a political party, not to the Great State of Texas, not to a cause, not to our land, not even to our families. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
In other words, our love for God must be so great that it looks like hate for anything or anyone else. Is that the kind of love you have for Jesus? Is he your all-consuming passion in this life? Many say he’s first, but their actions betray them. What we do certainly speaks louder than words. Jesus isn’t kidding when he says that we must place God ahead of everything else! It’s total commitment!
Now, here’s 10 ways to love your neighbor as yourself:
1. Think the best of a person.
2. Give them the benefit of the doubt
3. Don’t harbor grudges.
4. Forgive them from the heart.
5. Be generous
6. Be understanding
7. Be gracious
8. Offer a compliment
9. Pray for them
10. Go beyond those prior nine and bless them.
We always want the best for ourselves. That is how we are to love our neighbors: looking out for their best interests, their welfare, and their best good. Simply put, to enjoy a productive life, love God, love people.