October 9, 2018

Once again, I feel it to be beneficial to you to be able to read this devotional written by Dr. Johnnie Pope. As always, he gives unique insight and thought provoking perspective to the Word of God. Enjoy!


Text: Mark 12:28-34

Mark 12:30: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”

The Great Commandment comprising a unique completeness of loving God is found in Deuteronomy 6, Matthew 22, Luke 10 and here in our text of Mark 12. To emphasize this doctrine is not only important, is it essential. Without this essential life-giving driving force of love, what we believe is not believable to an unbelieving world.
When I was a teen struggling with the totally dedicated Christian life, a preschooler taught me in three words what was required. Her dad asked her, “Honey, how much do you love your Daddy?” She replied, “All of it!” And that says it all. Let’s break down the four ways that Christ declares the way we may love God with “all of it.”

We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart. The word “heart” comes to us from the Greek word “kardia” meaning “the thoughts and feelings of the mind.” This must be the starting point of our relationship with God. The ancient plea of Proverbs 23:26 is, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Then we see the promise of a spiritual heart transplant in Ezekiel 11:19b: “…I will take the stony heart out of their flesh…” and culminating in Jeremiah 24:7a: “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God….” How thankful we are for the permanence of this transaction as seen in Psalm 108:1a: “O God, my heart is fixed….” Daniel 1:8a says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart….” II Corinthians 9:7a: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart….” This is the decision-making mechanism.
Did you know there is a danger of throwing your heart away? Proverbs 62:10b: “…if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” In the covenant of marriage, your heart is freely given with determination and permanence in mind. Song of Solomon 8:6: “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death….” The promise of how Judah returns to God is told in Jeremiah 24:7b: “…they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:10a, “With my whole heart have I sought thee….” And this is the way we are to always love God–with our whole heart.