The Greatest Commandment

Hi everybody, it’s Pastor Dave at Word By Mail on a Tuesday morning with another Alone With God journal guide for you. If you have your Alone With God journal, grab it. If you don’t have an Alone With God journal, you should get one. At least check it out at You can contact us there for any reason.

If you have a guide, open it. If you don’t, just open any journal you have. Grab a blank piece of paper, and let’s spend some time with the Lord – alone with God, today.

So, if you’ve got your Bible, open it to Matthew 22. (I hope you can open it.) We’re going to be starting in verse 35 today. Here’s why I kind of picked that scripture. We just came out of Resurrection weekend, and Resurrection weekend is really about us celebrating the Resurrection. But we always have a heart to draw people into a real relationship with Jesus on Resurrection weekend. We really want people to see the Risen Lord, and to accept him, to receive him, put their faith in Jesus.

And so, often on the week following Resurrection weekend, I feel like I need to say, “Now what?” to people whose eyes were opened in the Resurrection services. So, maybe that’s you. Maybe you know somebody who made a commitment to Jesus Christ recently. This is a good “Now what?” starting point. We ask, “What do we do now once we receive Jesus?” So, here’s my thought for today. This is the big thing. So, if you grab this first line, you’ll know where my heart is.

Our God is a relational God. Our God is a relational God. God created Mankind in order to have relationship with us. When God created Adam and Eve in the Garden, he didn’t just give them study material to go off and read on their own. He didn’t hand them a New Believer’s Bible and say, “Go read this.” God created a beautiful place for Adam and Eve where he could have a real relationship with them. And then, sin severed that relationship. But from Genesis Chapter 3, God put into action the plan to restore his relationship, a right relationship with Mankind. And that plan was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who paid the price to redeem us – to buy us back – to that place of right intimate relationship that God created us to have with him.

So, think about it. Our God is a relational God. We know that a real relationship with God is what we were created for and what we were redeemed for by Jesus on the Cross and then the victory of the Resurrection. And it’s not just a vertical relationship with God that we were redeemed for by Christ. Jesus also redeemed us for right horizontal relationships with other people in our lives. And that’s how we get to Matthew Chapter 22, verse 35.

In verse 35, the religious leaders are kind of nipping at the heels of Jesus like little Chihuahua’s protecting their turf. Matthew 22:35 says, 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 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.

Guys, the first and greatest commandment is for us to be restored in a right vertical relationship with God. That means loving God with our heart – that’s our innermost being – and loving God with our soul – that’s what makes you up as a person. And loving God with your mind. The word means “with your choices” “with your will.”

But then Jesus links that first great commandment of loving God with a second that’s like the first. So, it’s really a single commandment in two directions. Look at Matthew 22:39. It says, 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The second half of the greatest commandment, the second part is about us living in right horizontal relationships with the people in our lives. And then Jesus sums it up in Matthew 22:40. 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

1). Having a right vertical relationship with God
2). Having right horizontal relationships with others
And all that we need to learn about God will flow out of these two right relationship areas.

Our God is a relational God. And if God made us to be in right relationship with him and with others around us, doesn’t it make sense that as we begin to learn how to follow the Lord Jesus, that we first learn to do that in right relationship with God, a relationship of love with God, and in right relationship with others around us, a horizontal right relationship of love?

And so, my heart is that the first steps for New Believers really should be beginning to develop, number one, a right vertical relationship with God where you learn to know him. That you can know who Jesus IS. That you have a real relationship with God the Father. And then, through that right relationship with God, we learn to have right horizontal relationships with others. So, that’s my prayer for you to really focus on in today’s journal.

So, in your Alone With God journal, on a “Daily Journal” page, write these scriptures that I’ve been talking about there and the date. And then, under the Meditate section, it says, “What is God’s Word saying?” Don’t overcomplicate this. Just write, “What is God’s Word saying in these verses? What are the spiritual principles here?” And, a lot of people end up writing basically what God’s Word says, what is written, and that’s perfectly fine because writing what is written in God’s Word is a great way to begin meditating on it. So, go through the Meditate section, and then, if you want, you can stop this and then come back, and I’ll walk you through the Apply section.

Alright, so under the Apply section in your “Daily Journal,” it just says, “How does this apply to my life today, personally and specifically?” If we’re looking (and we are) at the great commandment of loving God with all we’ve got and loving others as ourselves, then how does that apply? Where can you apply that in your life? It shouldn’t be hard. Just ask the Holy Spirit, “Where does this apply?” and then listen. And he’ll speak to you about your relationship with God and/or your relationship with others. And then write it down. You can pause this and come back.

And then, in your Respond section, it says, “What action will I take today in response to this truth?” The truth is about developing a love relationship with God – a right vertical relationship with God. And guys, I’ve got to tell you, that’s the whole concept of the Alone With God journal. It’s helping you develop a right intimate relationship with God. And then, there’s the relationship with others. And so, there are responses in both those areas. So, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how he would have you respond today to this truth.

And then, finally, after I pray, I’m going to ask you to pray. And to write your prayer in step four of the journal in the Pray section. Just write your prayer to God. It’s so good to do that.

So, let’s you and I pray together, and then I’ll let you go to write your prayer.

Lord Jesus, we know that you came to earth to restore us to a right relationship with you. You came, Lord, so that you could recreate the environment of right relationship that Man had in the Garden with you. And Lord, we know that that exists in perfection in eternity for those of us who have put our full faith in you as our Savior and Lord. But, Lord, we want that. You call us to have that here. And so, I pray, Lord, that you would help us to see, to apply, and to respond to this command, Lord, where you tell us that the most important commandment is that we love you. That we love you with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. And then, that we love others equal to how we already love ourselves. We pray, Lord, that you would reveal and apply, convict and exhort and encourage us to respond. And we pray that we would carry this with us today. And we thank you for your Word. In your precious name, Jesus, amen.

Alright, guys, that’s it for today. If you need us, get us at Find out about the ministry there. If you need anything, you can also text us at (877) 790-WORD. (877) 790-9673. Text us anytime, and we’ll get back to you.

Alright, guys. Great to share a morning devotion with you. Go now, and finish your own “alone time” with God. God bless you. Bye-bye.

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