Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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The Ultimate Requirement

In Matt. 22:36, Jesus was asked a question by a lawyer, who was attempting to test Jesus.  The question he asked Jesus was, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”  Notice how Jesus answered him in verses 37 thru 40, “…’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (40) On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Why do you think Jesus would choose these two commandments above all others?  The answer is that without following these two commandments it would have been impossible to serve God the way He was required to be served. 

            Deut. 10:12-13 says, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (13) and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”  Love is a requirement of God, it was required in the Old Testament and it is the core of all that Jesus taught as he brought about the new law.  In John 13:34 Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  Our love for one another is evidence of our love for God.  If we cannot love one another then it follows that we do not truly love God and therefore we fall short of what is commanded of us as Christians. 

            So we know that love is an essential part of serving God.  It was a requirement in the days of old and it remains so even today.  Most importantly, however, is that love is a requirement if we hope to live eternally in heaven.  Deut. 30:6 says, “ And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”  I John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”  Again we see the evidence of our love for God shown by our love for one another, but notice the correlation in both of the above passages.  There is a direct relationship between “love” and “life”.  If we love God then we are told we will keep His commandments, which results in eternal life.  If we don’t love Him we reject his commandments and the result is eternal destruction. 

            The greatest commandment for man to follow has been the same from the very beginning; we must do what man has always been required to do-------LOVE GOD with all of our heart, mind, and soul.  In doing this we will submit to all He has commanded and truly pass from death unto life.  Let us not be fooled by thinking we can simply go through the motions in our worship or in our relationships with God and with each other.  Without love all is done in vain and the end result is hopelessness in eternity.                                                                                                                                                                - Garrett Alsip