Day 23

Jesus Teaches on the Primary Commands

from the reading plan

Matthew 22:1-46

It’s not controversial to say that a lot is happening in Scripture. There are many themes, genres, timelines, and narratives. While they form a unified story of God’s redemptive plan for creation, we can often feel lost in the abundance of information within its pages. In light of this, I am continuously grateful that we have a record of this conversation in Matthew 22:34–40.

At the end of the day, the question that the expert in the law poses to Jesus gets at a similar question we ask ourselves all the time. What is God’s will or desire for my life? What does God want from me? What does faithful life look like? When we’re trying to recalibrate our lives, is this not what we ponder?

However, we don’t have to jump through hoops to discover the answer. God hasn’t hidden it. What is God’s will for our lives? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (v.39). 

God’s will isn’t a mystery. We were created to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. I find it fascinating that Jesus says that every other instruction contained within the Bible depends on these two commands. Jesus is laying out a principle that has incredible ramifications for discipleship. According to Jesus, what we love informs how we live. 

Think about a young man who loves college football. His love of football informs how he lives. Every year, between September and January, his life adopts a particular rhythm that flows from this love. Every weekend he will cook certain foods, invite over certain friends, and religiously protect his weekend schedule to ensure a four-hour block to watch the game. His love informs how he lives.

In the same way, when the desires of our hearts are set upon the Lord, our lives begin to adopt particular rhythms that, according to Jesus, are in alignment with God’s will. To live according to God’s will is less about checking the boxes of a religious to-do list and more about reorienting our hearts to love God with a singular devotion. 

For me, this has been a far more invigorating way to think about discipleship. Following God’s will isn’t a stale ritual that sucks the life out of a believer. No, it is the gradual increase of one’s love and affection for the One who has poured out his infinite wellspring of love and affection. As the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, our hearts are drawn to the Father as the ultimate object of our love. 

The will of God for us is a life filled with love—love from God, love for God, and the love for our neighbor. Take a moment today and ask yourself, “Where does my love rest?”

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