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Driven By What We Love

Driven By What We Love
Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:37-40

One thing you need to know, and it’s what’s on my heart today, is we are driven by what we love. In Joshua 23:11, Joshua says in the first of his two final messages to the Nation of Israel, So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

The single greatest way to ensure that we are walking in the blessings of God, and are never at risk of backsliding away from God, is to be very careful to love the Lord our God. This is our single greatest safeguard, to ensure our growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why did Moses, in the great Shema (which is like the creed for the Jewish religion) that starts in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, call us to this one thing above all other things?

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NKJV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Why is it that in the great Shema, the foundational creed of the Jewish religion, why is our love for God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength that is the beginning, the pinnacle, the focus? It’s because our actions are driven by what we love. Our actions are not only driven by what we believe, our actions are driven by what we love.

We all know people who believe everything they need to believe in the Bible. But their lives are still being destroyed by the choices they make, and their draw towards sin, or towards the world.

James 2:19 (NLT)
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

Even the demons believe, but their belief that God exists, does not change their actions, does it? Because our actions are driven by what or who we love. If we love sin, or if we love the world more than we love Jesus, then we will ultimately be drawn away from Jesus and drawn towards sin and the world because we are drawn to what or who we love. If we continue to do that, we’ll fall more out of love with Jesus, we’ll fall away from Jesus, and we’ll fall more in love with sin or with the world.

And so, Jesus takes the Shema (in Matthew 22) and he wraps it into the greatest commandment. It’s one commandment of love in two parts. Jesus replied to the scribe who asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

How could Jesus sum up the entire law with just two commands? Because our actions are driven by what we love. If we love God, we will not break the four vertical commands. And if we love our neighbors as we should, we will not break the second six horizontal commands.

(If you would like to listen to our message about this, it’s actually in the Mark series. You can get it on the WordByMail phone app or at CalvaryNuevo.org. The message is titled, “Not Far From The Kingdom” Mark 12:28-34).

The point of this devotion is we are driven by what or who we love. In our Joshua Chapter 23 message that’s called “Blessings or Backsliding” (WordByMail phone app), we go over three safeguards to ensure that we will continue to walk in the blessings of God and that we will continue to be safe from the risk of backsliding, of falling away. In that message, Joshua makes three things very clear.
1). Be careful to follow all of God’s Word.
2). Do not cling to the world or the things of the world.
3). Above all (and covering it all) be very careful to love the Lord your God.

That’s my prayer for you and I. That we would understand that as we love God more, we’ll be drawn to him; as we love Jesus Christ more, we’ll be drawn into a deeper and deeper relationship with him. And that love for him, and that relationship with him will drive our actions.

It’s just like it is in a good marriage. My actions are driven by my love for my wife. And my actions for God are driven by my love for the Lord Jesus. And yours are as well.

Let’s pray through these scriptures we’ve just looked at.

Lord, Jesus, would you draw us into a deeper love relationship with you? Lord, we pray that we would make the choice today, to love you as our Lord above all else. To love you and to grow in our relationship with you to the point that it drives our actions – that our actions are determined, they’re driven by our love for you.
And Lord, we join all of Israel in their creed, the Shema, we will hear as your people that you are our God, and you are One, and you are the One and Only God. And Lord, we will love you as our Lord and God with all our heart, with the deepest place of our being, and with all of our soul, that’s all of our personality and our emotions and our actions, and with all of our strength, that’s with all of our determination and all of our will. Lord, help us to do that.

And Lord, prevent us, protect us from believing to the same extent that the demons believe. It’s not enough to believe that you exist, Lord. But we have to love you, Lord. Our belief in you has to lead to a personal relationship of love with you, Lord, where we commune with you and relate with you, and we desire to know you better. And our communion with you drives our actions, that’s our prayer, Lord.
And, Lord, you said as you summed up all the law and the prophets in Matthew 22:37-40, we must love you, the Lord our God with all of our heart, and soul, and all of our mind. And Lord, because you’ve given us the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is our strength. And so, you changed that last word from strength to mind because that word mind means our choices. We love you with our choices, and the Holy Spirit provides the power.

And then, Lord, you called us to love our neighbor as ourself, Lord. Not implying self-love, as some have mistakenly used this. In the way that we naturally love ourselves, we are to replace our “selves” with our neighbor, with those around us, Lord. Love them instead of ourselves, in place of ourselves to the extent that we would naturally love ourselves.

And Lord, we pray that as we do that, our actions would be driven, Lord, to fulfill all the law and the prophets, Lord. The four vertical commandments, Lord, to love you. And the six horizontal commandments to love others, Lord. We pray that our life would be driven by our love for you, that all of those things would be transformed in our lives. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for saving us, thank you for filling us with your Spirit, for transforming us, and thank you for such a simple life-changing command.

We pray, Lord, that we would always be very careful to love you our Lord, and our God. We love you today, Lord, we pray you would draw us into a deeper love for you. In your mighty and powerful name, and because you first loved us, Lord, amen.

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