Loving God Exclusively

ishot_55Today’s Scripture: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

The ultimate purpose for which you and I were created is to worship God.  Our foremost calling as believers is to exalt the Lord, to magnify and glorify Him.  Worship is central in in the life of the church.  The church is a redeemed fellowship of sinners set apart to worship and declare the truth of Jesus Christ.  Since this is true, we had better have a good grasp on what worship really is.  Worship is the honor and adoration directed to God.  It is the celebration of who He is in His supreme worth in such a manner that His worthiness becomes the norm and motivation of our life.  Thus, to worship God is to ascribe to Him the worth of which He alone is worthy.  Within this verse, Jesus tells us that God is to be worshiped exclusively.  That means that He alone is to occupy the throne of my heart.

First, exclusive worship speaks of DIRECTION.

Loving God is to be the primary pursuit of the believer’s life.  My life is to move in a Godward direction whereby I seek Him above everything else.  Instead of merely seeking His hand, I am to passionately seek His face.  There is nothing more important than loving God supremely.

Within this passage, Jesus is quoting from the law of Moses:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9—“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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.”  

This was known as the ‘Shema’ in Jewish culture and was quoted twice a day by the faithful Jew in Jesus’ day.  The Pharisees would quote it and rehearse it, but they never would practice it.  Just because you know something and claim to believe it does not mean that it is being actively obeyed in your life.  Many people claim to know God, but the direction of their life proves otherwise.                            

Second, exclusive worship speaks of DEVOTION.

The word “love” in verse 37 is the word ‘aheb’ in Hebrew and ‘agapao’ in Greek and it refers to an act of the mind and will, the determined care for the welfare of something or someone; it might well include strong emotion, but its distinguishing characteristics were the dedication and commitment of choice.  It is the love of choice regardless of what one’s feelings might be.  It is intelligent love, purposeful, committed, and an act of the will.  The true mark of saving faith is always love for God.  Faith in Jesus that does not result in love for Jesus is nothing more than intellectual knowledge that even the demons have.

Third, exclusive worship speaks of DISTINCTION.

We are to worship the Lord, and nothing or no one else.  He is to have no rivals in my life.  All other loves in my life are to pale in comparison to the exclusive love and devotion that I have for God.  God refuses to be part of some hierarchy in your life.  He refuses to sit atop some organizational flowchart—He is the organization.  He refuses to president of the board—He is the board.  And life will not work until everyone else sitting around the table in the boardroom of your heart is fired.  He is God, and there are no other applicants for that position.

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