What does God require of us?
by naomi Cassata
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By Naomi Cassata
Have you ever been puzzled concerning what God requires of your life? I know I have. There have been several occasions I wished I could talk to God face-to-face and get some clear-cut answers.
Through my own pursuit in discovering what God wants with my life, I couldn’t avoid Jesus’ teaching found in Mark 12. One of the scribes listening to Jesus teach asked what seemed to be a rather simple question. But really was profound. Behind his question, what he really wanted to know was “what does God require of my life?” In his own words, the scribe asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?”(v.28) Jesus perceived in the heart of this scribe that he didn’t want mere religion. Instead, he truly wanted to know the heart of God and obey Him.
The first thing to really knowing what God requires of us is “asking.” If you’re not asking, you really don’t want to know.
The answer Jesus gave was not just for the scribe, but for all who are hungry to know God’s desire for their life. Jesus responded ‘…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (v.30) What does it mean to love God with all the above? It simply means that our total and complete affection is to be centered on the One who created us-God. If God is not in His rightful place as “Lord of our life” then our lives will be off course.
It’s out of our complete love for God that we are willing to obey His commandments. Our obedience to His word reflects the depth of our love for Him (John 14:15). This is found true in Jesus’ life as well. He didn’t falter, not even once. His love for the Father was seen by his absolute devotion and submission to the Father. How much do you love God? It will be seen by your level of obedience to His word.
How do we know when our affections are set on God? Our life will reflect just that. Our thoughts, desires, passions and actions will be focused on pleasing God. Our lives will be lived out differently from someone whose affections are on the things of the world.
It comes so easy for us to get our focus off of God with all the things that entice us. When we find something that we consider valuable, a lot of times it becomes the focus of our pleasure. It becomes our delight and soon our passion, desire, affection, thoughts and actions surround this very thing. When we really love something with everything in us, our lives become devoted to that something. When that focus is set on things apart from God, it is called idolatry. Anytime we uphold something above God, we have given that thing more value than our Creator. We do this with sports, hobbies, entertainments, material possessions, money, relationships etc. You fill in the blanks.
Jesus brought out in Mark 12 that we don’t just love God with our mind; we don’t just love Him with our heart; we don’t just love Him with our soul; we don’t just love Him with our strength. We love Him with everything in us! Loving God is not a statement we make with our mouth, but rather something we do. When we have set our love upon our Creator, everything else in our life will support that love.
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