By Rex Robinson
I want to write about something really important. In fact it is the most important thing I could write about. That is not by my estimation, but by the words of Jesus.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 12:24-31
Jesus is asked about the most important commandment and He tells the questioner and all of us what is the most important. He is speaking to the greatest commandment; first in time, place and rank. And His answer is to love God with all of your being.
The most important thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. A core value for the Ohio State football team is relentless effort. “We will practice and play with relentless effort.” They have a red line painted around the practice field and whenever a player crosses that line they are running and giving total effort to football. God wants us to love Him with total effort.
I think of loving God as singing songs of worship. “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” (Psalm 89:1) Recognizing God’s great worth in songs is an expression of loving Him. “Sing” is mentioned in the Psalms 70 times. Singing songs of praise and worship is a important way to love God.
Another expression of loving God is giving. Loving means giving to the one you love. With God it means giving our time, our talent, our energy and our resources. God loves us and He gives us good gifts. We love God by giving Him gifts as well.
Singing and giving are important ways to love God. But the most important way to fulfill the most important commandment is by obeying. Jesus makes this clear in John 14:23; “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” This is repeated several times in the gospels and other New Testament books.
It is also repeated in the Ten Commandments. Commandments are about obedience. The first four commandments are about loving God, and the last six are about loving our neighbor. God commands us to not have any other gods, not to make any idols, not to misuse God’s name and to keep a Sabbath. These are most important because they are foundational.
The most important thing is to focus your reticular activating system (RAS) on God. Your RAS is that part of your brain that allows you to focus on what is most important stimuli as you go through the activities of the day. We are all bombarded constantly by sights, sounds, smells, people, and messages. Some people are overwhelmed by all the stimuli they face in the course of a day. Most of us train our RAS to focus on certain things, voices, words, names that help bring peace and purpose into are activities.
The most important thing is to train your RAS to seek God and notice God in your day. Let everything remind you of God, so you can love God. When you see a sunrise, praise God for the colors. When you hear a woodpecker, rejoice in the awesome design of your hearing. When you see Orion’s belt in the sky at night, think of the God of angel armies. When someone offers a word of encouragement, hear God speaking His love to you.
Thank God, worship God, love God, obey God, with all you are.