Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:35-37; Matthew 22:41-46; Luke 20:41-44; Mark 12:38-40; Matthew 23:1-12; Luke 20:45-47; Matthew 23:13-39; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
I’m sure that “simple” is not the way most people would describe their life as a Christ Follower. My life can certainly get complicated at times.
The Holy Spirit is in the process of teaching me something about making the Christian life simple; so come along and think this through with me. In our journey we’ve spent almost nine full months in the Old Testament. Throughout that time I kept noticing this one phrase over and over:
So that they will know that I am the Lord their God.
It hit me last week that the purpose of the Old Testament was so that the earth and all its inhabitants would know that God, Jehovah, Yahweh– the God of the Bible, is the Lord our God.
This word “know” is translated from the Hebrew word yada’ and is used 947 times and means to know, learn to know or to know by experience.
Test this out; read any book or story in the Old Testament and ask yourself why did that happen; what was the purpose? The answer is most likely going to be so that they would know (learn to know and experience) that the God of the Bible is the Lord their God.
So what was the message of the New Testament?
I’m so glad you asked!
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Wow! God shouted the message I am your God throughout the Old Testament. Then Jesus came and said we are not only to know that God is God, but we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.
This is step one of the Simple Life.
Jesus gave us the second step in that same scripture—Love your neighbor.
Jesus didn’t just tell us how to love, he showed us by dying on the cross for his “neighbor(s)”. So the New Testament is all about loving your neighbor as yourself.
Life is so crazy these days; there’s so much we can do. How do we know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a filter (a device that removes impurities) that we could run every situation, decision or conversation through to see if it lined up with the will of God for our lives?
I think the Greatest Commandment is that filter!
In the future when I have a question about how to handle a situation, person, or decision I’m going to filter it through the Greatest Commandment:
1. Will this situation, decision, or conversation show My God that I love him with all my heart, soul and mind?
2. Will this situation, decision, or conversation treat my neighbor in a way that I would want to be treated?
If the answer to either question is no, then I will have to S-T-O-P and rethink my strategy.
Have I over simplified our Christian walk? What are your thoughts?
Heavenly Father, help me to refrain from complicating my life as a Christian. Help me to remember that it’s all about knowing You and causing others to know You. Lord, use me today.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-23; Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-24; Mark 13:24-31; Matthew 24:26-35; Luke 21:23-33