By David Martz
Today's Scripture: Mark 12:29-31
Central Thought: Love is a gift of God's presence, not our good works.
I knew a chaplain who had a reputation for being genuinely compassionate. Many times I heard people say of the chaplain, 'He never says a bad word about anyone.” What a testimony for Jesus Christ! My friend preached more through his everyday life and acts than through his words. He wasn't a perfect individual, but he was genuine and compassionate; everyone he met sensed his love.
The Lord's response to the teacher in Mark 12:29-31 was given in three parts. First, he quoted Moses: 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV).” Jesus' response began by saying that God is 'one,” which implies God's perfect unity is one of perfect love. The Trinity is the perfect model for love. Second, Jesus quoted Moses again (Deuteronomy 6:5-6, ESV), saying that one must love God with his whole heart, soul, and might. Third, Jesus said one must love his neighbor as himself. Matthew adds, 'On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40, ESV). In other words, all of the Old Testament teachings can be sourced to these two commands.
How can human beings like me experience this kind of love? After all, the law cannot impart love, and the divine model of perfect love reveals only what love really should be. Paul told the Romans (Romans 5:5) the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is a fruit (attribute) of the Holy Spirit manifested in and through our lives when we walk with God.
How is the love of God being manifested through our lives? Others will see love only when we walk close to God. God teaches us to see people as He sees them (as beings He created and died for) rather than according to external appearances. Today, let's commit ourselves 100 percent to God and ask Him to manifest His love through us to others.
Devotional Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me understand the power of love in reaching a lost world for Christ and building the church body. May Your love fill and overflow my life so others will see You when I talk with them. I ask this request in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalms 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26