My mother loves the McIntosh variety apple. She says it’s full of flavor, easy to digest, and bakes well. When they’re in season, she loads up. I can be sure she will send some home with me because she knows I agree – they are delicious.
What makes it good is everything under its skin. The fruit thrives with a strong core, seed, flesh, and stem. Properly grown and harvested, it’s pleasing to the taste buds. Just as God intended.
In similar fashion, everything good about us is under our skin in impalpable life sources created by God; wholly designed to glorify him. As Christ-Followers, we are a sampling of his perfect flavor.
To enable us to yield the proper taste of his goodness, he issued an edict he calls the most important command.
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12: 30
This is a direct order between him and us which God doesn’t trivialize. Our adoption into the kingdom came at the highest cost; the blood of Jesus. To say that he wants all our energy concentrated on all things godly would be wrong. He doesn’t want it. He demands it.
The duty appears daunting, but here’s the beautiful thing. He created our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and knows their full potential. If we yield to his authority, our human limitations cease to matter. God has high expectations and gives us his unlimited, all-powerful grace to overshadow our weaknesses.
We will never be able to fully embrace this command. The closest we come is if we willingly lay ourselves to be martyred. However, he knows we are imperfect people and is not only faithful to put our perceived failed attempts in right standing, but to also use them to bring attention to him.
What’s under your skin? Does your heart beat for God? Does your soul reveal you prefer him over everything else? Is your mind calculating every move to benefit the Almighty? Are you using every ounce of your strength to follow his instruction?
It’s our call to obedience. Friend, embrace it. God created you. He walks life’s path with you. He preserves your life for the number of days he determines right. He’s prepared an everlasting home for you. He loves you and has exciting plans for you. You are the apple of his eye.
Your next breath is dependent on him.
God adds a second command that he says is just as important.
“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12: 31
I believe obeying the second edict will subconsciously happen if we are complying with the first. I know I haven’t mastered the edict because loving others doesn’t flow subconsciously from me.
With this devotion, my prayer is that Christ-Followers will find the determination to follow God’s command by reflecting on his Word.
If you aren’t a Christ-Follower, I pray that you will come to an understanding of God’s authority and your position with him.