Peripheral or Not
How much time do you spend thinking about God? It is so easy to let Him become a peripheral part of life, isn’t it? Life gets so busy and our schedules get crazy. As Christ followers, though we are committed to loving, serving and glorifying Him, other things really do tend to flood into our minds and days and keep us distracted. He calls us to live a focused life – focused on Him – centered on Him. So how do we do that… make Him the center of our lives?
My Morning Routine
I have a pretty solid habit of getting up in the morning and giving myself a few minutes to get my eyes opened while I eat my breakfast, then have about 30 minutes to read my Bible and usually a devotion (written by someone else besides me!!). Then I begin getting ready for work, hopefully keeping what I have read in mind as I go into my day. I have to say that more often than not I have let Him slip into my peripheral view by the time I am ready to leave.
Our Passage Today
These words of Jesus from Mark are beautiful and so impacting to us who desire to follow Christ with our whole life.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these.”
A Little Background
Some of the people that would come to hear Jesus teach liked to challenge Him and attempt to trap Him into error because they wanted to discredit Him with the people. They were mostly Jewish leaders and teachers of the Jewish law. Of course, they never did trap or discredit Him. This was an act of futility, but they did not yet know that they debated with God Himself.
Here in Mark 12, they have challenged Him once again. They asked Him which of the commandments is the greatest.
As we look closely at Jesus’s response over the next three entries, I hope we can see practical ways to bring Jesus out of our peripheral view and into the forefront of daily life.
Today we are discussing Verse 29:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one…”
The Lord is One
As Christians, Christ Followers, we believe that God is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity. This fact is challenging to explain in a tight and concise way but in the Bible, we see each Person separately spoken of on many occasions, but all three are part of the One Godhead – One God. I think of it like this: My brain and my hand work together with no difference of opinion. My feet are not going to walk across the room without me either.
Like many aspects of walking with God, we must take this by faith. Some things are beyond our complete understanding.
Why is This Important?
Jesus answers with quotes from the Old Testament books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, where Moses addresses the Israelites. Verses 29 and 30 are from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Idolatry was almost always an issue for the Israelites. God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God – three in One. In a world where the people worshiped so many false gods, a clear delineation needed to be made – both in Old Testament times and New Testament times. Today our false gods do not seem to be so outlandish as they were back then, however, they are just as much objects of worship. What can you think of that people mistakenly dedicate their lives to? Possessions, power, prestige are just a few. Are there things you tend to let be objects of worship, besides God Himself? We will talk more about idolatry on another day.
Recently, a sweet friend of mine asked me to whom I pray, as a Christian. We were talking about different types of religion at the time.
I am not sure every Christian prays exactly the same way, and I know God is not waiting to bash me over the head if I do not say things exactly right. When we pray He is looking at our hearts. He is looking for a heart that has trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The Trinity is Involved
When I pray, I usually pray begin by addressing the Father as Lord and close the prayer in Jesus’s name.
One reason I address the Father is that Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17.
I close in Jesus’s name because He gave me the privilege of identifying with Him when He saved me. By the Holy Spirit, I was brought to believe and trust that Jesus Christ had paid for my sin on the cross, worked forgiveness for me and brought me to salvation. I am identifying myself as a Christ Follower to the Father. Of course, He already knows this but we are instructed in the Bible to pray in Jesus’s name.
We do not really have to delineate between them because they are One God. We do have to know that we only get to God through Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. That is the plan that God made at the dawn of time and that is the only way we will ever get to God or heaven. I hope you see in my words that I deeply care for you and desperately want you to know the truth.
Lord, I thank You for Your beautiful, powerful Word! I am amazed by the grace You have shown us by offering us the way to be saved and have a life knowing You. Please help us to see Your great love even in passages like this one. Thank You for helping us see Your truth in a world that is so distracting. Help us to seek You to know You. Make us completely Yours and help us to glorify You with our lives. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Go Deeper Today: