Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 11-15 are provided by Tina Hsu, who is currently serving as a preaching-intern in East Asia. Tina is a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for Today
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
I grew up with a pretty good record of being an obedient daughter towards my earthly father. I obeyed and listened to him, but I didn’t obey because I loved him. I obeyed primarily because I was afraid of him—his temper and the idea of disappointing him. God has held my hand to overcome fear and to begin obeying my father because I love him. Even though my dad’s response is not in my control, this change in my heart has helped me to overcome fear. This has also revealed to me how God wants me to relate to Him. He desires that I obey His word because I love and adore Him. God calls us to obey Him because we love Him, for love is the channel through which He relates to us and desires us to relate to Him. He loved us first by sending His beloved Son to defeat sin and death, so that we could be reconciled to Him. He whole-heartedly loved us and calls us to whole-heartedly love Him in a relationship.
Jesus affirms that loving God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength is the greatest commandment, next to loving our neighbor, because the love command is the preface for the whole Law. Every command and every prohibition that comes from God teaches and guides us how to express our love for God. He is not saying all other statutes are less important, or that we should pay less attention to other laws. But He is saying that the love command is the most important, because it sums up the spirit of the Law. For this reason, Jesus was pleased to hear the scribe’s response, because he seems to have understood that God delights in obedience that comes from a person’s love for him. On the contrary, he does not delight in acts of obedience that are empty of love.
There comes a point in our walk with God in which we have to ask ourselves, “Why do I obey and serve God?” May God work in you and me so that the reason we obey Him is because we love Him.
Prayer: Dear God, let my obedience and sacrifice for You be an overflow of my love for You and out of a joy of being Your servant. Thank You for loving me first, so that I could experience what true and unconditional love is. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 106
Lunch Break Study
Read John 14:19-24 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word, which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.
Questions to Consider
- What is Jesus preparing the disciples to face?
- How should the disciples expect to see Jesus after He leaves them?
- What does this passage teach you about discipleship? What does it mean that you are a disciple of Jesus?
- Jesus is about to leave the world by dying on the cross, rising again, and ascending to be with the Father. Jesus is preparing the disciples to trust that they will still continue to see Him.
- They will receive guidance and instruction from the Holy Spirit. They can expect to experience the love of God by pursuing a mutual love relationship with Him. Jesus calls them to express their love for Him by keeping His words.
- Personal Response.
Mark 12:32-33 “…He is One, and there is no one else besides Him…” Before we can offer God anything, we must remember and absorb the truth that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him. Reflect on an area in your life that competes with honoring God and spend time praying for your relationship with God to be renewed and restored.