19 Mar He Chose to Love God (Forty Days with Jesus – Day 27, Mar 19th)
Read Matthew 22:34-40
Thought for the Day: I am called to love God!
In the Old Testament times, many Jewish rabbis began the practice of taking Deuteronomy 6:4-8 literally and wearing small boxes on their foreheads with the command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” inside. These boxes, now called ‘phylacteries’ provided an outward physical reminder that we must love God and follow Him. Even in Jesus’ day, some leaders wore these. However, Jesus pointed out that an outward act only has meaning if it is matched by the inward condition of a person’s heart. It is meaningless if a person simply wears this commandment without taking it to heart.
So, when the Jewish leaders sought to test Jesus, He made it clear that the great commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. But, He immediately followed this by emphasizing the need to love our neighbors. Put simply, if we say that we love God but we are unwilling to live out this love, we don’t actually love Him!
No matter our situations or circumstances, we are always called to love God first. But, just as Jesus chose to love God, He chose to do so with authenticity. If we simply go through life acting ‘religious’ without following Jesus from the inside out, we quickly become hypocrites. During this time of Lent, we have the opportunity to stop and realize that we are not called to simply express an outward love for God. Instead, Jesus has called each of us to love God starting with our thoughts and actions!
Reflect & Pray – When are times in my life when I have become a hypocrite (saying I ‘love God’ but not living it out)? Am I willing to repent of this today and ask God to help me love Him with authenticity? God, please forgive me of the times I have been a hypocrite and allow me to love You from the inside out!