earnestly contending for the faith

With all…

The Lord Christ Jesus declared with four “with all’s” that the first and great commandment is, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30

I have talked to many people that confessed they have never reached that degree of commitment. I frequently wonder if I have attained it. It certainly doesn’t feel as if I have reached it. The question is, why did God put such a commandment in His word if we could not obey it? Furthermore, if we cannot obey it, does that mean we should not be concerned about falling short of success?

I do not believe that degree of commitment is unattainable, but that it requires us to submit daily to God’s will. I was counseling a young man that had committed serious sins and was suffering the consequences. I informed him that he needed to be fully surrendered to God. He replied that he thought he had done that long ago. And yet sin greatly prevailed.

For some strange reason, many Christians believe that full surrender to God is a one-time commitment. However, we wake up each morning with new challenges to our efforts to live godly. Christ said that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him. (Luke 9:23) If we are being overcome by evil, how can we claim our long ago surrender is still effective?

It takes the highest standard of commitment to obey the first and greatest commandment. It is a daily commitment, a fresh commitment, and continually developing commitment, and there will be setbacks. When we fail, we must put the negativity of setbacks behind us and renew our commitment.

The fact is, successfully obeying God’s will is the measure of our commitment. I cannot count the number of people that claimed they could not discern God’s will. What they mean is they cannot hear the Holy Spirit. He dwells in every true Believer, so we should all be able to hear him.

However, we have God’s word that clearly states His will. If we daily tried to live up to the truth in those verses we would be committed to His will.

As we obey God we realize that love for Him increasingly takes over more of our hearts, minds souls, and strength. Loving something or someone more than Him is a point of contention with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth that leads us into all truth will not let us get away with sinning, so why would He disregard our loving anything more than God? Expect conviction when that error is committed.

Now the great problem of professing Christians is revealed. The overwhelming majority want to love many other things and activities and also love God. They confess this flaw often. They admit to loving sports teams, sports in general, music, hobbies, movies, et cetera X 100.

By “love” they likely mean something stronger than normal or they would use the word like.” I’m not certain that in most cases the attraction rises to the definition of love. However, it can be an obsession. Then it is love that has a throne.

I confess that in the past I became obsessed with golf, fishing, hunting, playing music, numerous hobbies, TV, and other activities and interests. I would defeat one by sheer willpower, only to transfer that affection to something else. I also have known the failure of trying to feed an obsession and maintain a vibrant relationship with God. It cannot be done. The moment one comes before God’s throne with an obsession lodged in his or her heart, praying becomes a formality—if anything.

Sadly, some professing Christians have gone on for years attempting to balance their obsession(s) with a commitment to God. Gradually, they will find substitutes for the absence of blessed joy and awe of His presence. The majority turn to something that can kindle their emotions, such as music, demonstrative preaching, or perhaps an exciting church meeting with religious calisthenics.

Eventually, they may realize as I did that there is no substitute for the awareness of God’s presence via the Holy Spirit. Nothing in life can substitute for the inexplicable feeling in one’s spirit while wholehearted heart praying and worshipping God. When our love for Him is not shared with things and activities that make a constant and unrelenting demand for priority, we truly have uncluttered communion with Him. Furthermore, love grows and intensifies.

Thus, if we are going to love the Lord God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, we have to identify and reject the things and activities in our lives that compete with our love for God. And that is the major battle every Christian engages. We will argue, hide, explain, complain, bargain, pout, make small concessions, and even identify conviction as “legalism,” and in the end retain our obsessions. We may even make them sacrosanct.

That takes my article back to this statement.

“Now the great problem of professing Christians is revealed. The overwhelming majority want to love many other things and activities and also love God.”

That problem cannot be solved by legalism. One has to spend quality time each day, preferably in the early mornings, communing with God. He or she has to prioritize reading and studying God’s word. Next—and this is where the footing gets slippery and Satan is very sneaky—we must set our minds on heavenly things.

That does not make us good buddies for the professing Christians that believe they have autonomous liberty “in the Lord.” But you will love God as His title requires.

If that is the greatest commandment, why would anyone think they can obey Him in everything else when they cannot obey that one commandment. Shouldn’t we at least try and try every day until we depart this jaded world and it’s relatively worthless attractions?


  1. This article reminded me of the Christian song that goes like so. Turn your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace

  2. Oh Father, forgive me for my weakness, my faults and failures. My greatest desire is to love you with ALL my heart, yet I know I am not there yet.
    Thank you Truthkeepers for this deeply moving, deeply challenged Article.

  3. With the current atmosphere… I’ve been thinking… really, no life matters… but His. We have no “cause”… but His.

  4. Yes, I see this all over too. Yet it is a daily commitment. I would say it’s a continual walk with the Lord, versus a ‘one time’ walk through a door. We walk through the door at the initial commitment, but then we walk with the Lord, as we are to follow Him. This is where many go astray. Slowly other gravities start to pull them away from the Lord and the wedge grows and they begin orbiting around another throne, yet explaining it away as you said. Sometimes the initial joy, wonder, and excitement wane (usually as a result of this) and a vicious cycle takes hold as they seek other sources for that spiritual satisfaction. But what other well can satisfy you, other than the spring of Living Waters? It was true then, and it’s still true now. Slowly the weeds of life start to pry their way into one’s spiritual life and they start to fall. That is why Jesus warned that he who endures to the end will be saved. It’s a continual, ongoing commitment to carry our cross daily. We cannot afford to rest on the laurels of yesterday. I see that so much and one particular example comes to mind but I will leave it vague. One person said they got saved back in the early Calvary days, claims he made a full surrender, and all the right terminology is used. Yet today his life is a shambles as a result of past and present sin. I try to encourage him to make a fresh commitment but he keeps insisting that he ‘did that already.’ He just doesn’t get it that it’s not a one time sinner’s prayer and thus an unconditional ticket to heaven no matter what thereafter. Yet at the same time he worries and feels guilty. I try to tell him the same thing again about getting right in his walk and the merry go round continues. I throw my hands up in the air in exasperation. I know exactly what you mean! To make matters worse are the ‘sinner’s prayer’ believers who hold to OSAS and sink into a hammock of slumber and vice. It’s the devil’s perfect snare.

    It all comes back down to this statement:
    You have left your first love.

    “These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
    Revelation 2; 1-7

    Notice they had a lot going for them. But it was not enough. And what they had they were in danger of losing as well.
    I see that today too, Christians who know about the apostasy, they do ministry, much is good, etc. But they don’t have the same love and passion for Jesus as one who is newly saved, and often they don’t have the love for the brethren that He requires of us. They have grown complacent, and afterwards follows lukewarmness.

    What we need? It all springs forth from the Holy Spirit. He gives to those who ask, those who seek, find. These are the days to have oil in our lamps.

    God bless you!

  5. Due to the escalating situation here as a result of globalist world events, we are going to be moving in the near future. Once we are resettled I will be able to comment again. Just letting you know. Keep us in your prayers.
    Thanks and God bless you!

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