Applying the Greatest Command

What words would you use to sum up the law of Moses? If your answer dealt with sacrifices and commandments, your understanding has been influenced more by the Jewish leaders of the first century than by how God intended for it to be. Jesus showed the true nature of the law when He said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40). We know these two greatest commandments but sometimes fail to see their application to the nature of the Old Testament.

Take time to look at the opening words of the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart . . .” (Matt. 22:37). The greatest commandment begins with having the Lord first, not just in our minds, but in our hearts! God wants our devotion to Him to begin with total devotion originating in giving our whole heart to Him.

We should pray with our whole heart. David said, “I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to your word” (Psa. 119:58). He looked back at the past and his prayer life involved his entire heart when he prayed. In this same psalm, he looked at the present. “I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes” (Psa. 119:145). There is a great difference between saying a prayer and praying with our whole heart. The next time someone says, “Let’s bow our heads as we pray,” make sure that your whole heart is involved in this prayer. This is part of the greatest commandment!

We should sing with our whole heart. The heart of David involved his whole heart when he sang God’s praises. “I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You” (Psa. 138:1). It involved his whole heart when he assembled to worship with others. “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation” (Psa. 111:1). There is a marked difference between singing and singing with all our heart. The next time someone says, “Let’s sing,” make sure that your response involves your whole heart in the song. This is part of the greatest commandment!

We should teach others with our whole heart. Look again at the words of David. “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works” (Psa. 9:1). Jesus’ words, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” show why David’s heart had to teach others. There is nothing more detrimental to the faith of those being taught than a teacher whose whole heart is not involved in his teaching. This is part of the greatest commandment!

Let us pray, sing and teach with our whole heart!

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