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 12:30-31
If you’re like me, you want to love God passionately. After all, when a scribe pressed Jesus to identify the greatest commandment, He summed up the entire law in two all-encompassing statements—love God with your entire being, and love your neighbor as yourself. Nothing in life is more important than these!
We would all agree that loving God is a worthy goal, yet what does it really mean and how can one truly accomplish this? When we love God passionately, we keep one eye on our heavenly Lord and one eye on our earthly circumstances. In other words, loving God includes both a vertical component (our relationship with God) and a horizontal component (our relationships with people).
As soon as a branch is severed from the vine, it stops growing and dies. It can no longer produce fruit of any kind. That’s why maintaining our vertical connection with God is absolutely nonnegotiable. If we neglect times of intimate interaction with the Lord, we dry up and become worthless. Christians simply cannot afford NOT to meet one-on-one with God. To ignore this is spiritual suicide!
When our vertical connection with God is intact, we automatically produce fruit. Spiritual fruit helps to nourish others. It leaves a lasting impact on the people who are close to us. Years ago, as I read Chuck Colson’s book, Loving God, Colson focused almost entirely on the horizontal connection—establishing and nurturing loving relationships with other people. God wants us to draw out of our vertical connection with him to meet the horizontal connections of those around us!
Homework: This week find three ways to love God passionately by meeting the need of people around you.