Mark 12: 30, And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. NKJV
Recently, I was called on to deliver the eulogy at my brother-in-law's memorial service. As I was seeking the Lord for wisdom that would be a source of strength and comfort to the family, the Holy Spirit taught me something new about faith.
My brother-in-law's testimony included being a man who was once the prodigal son of a pastor, but was now a devoted follower of Christ. Rick had faith in Christ in his early years, but he struggled with giving his life completely over to Him. Approximately fourteen years ago, the Lord began to deal with his heart, and he made a solid commitment to obey... no matter the cost.
A few years ago, Rick was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). As the disease began to take its toll on his health and his body, he grew from being just a man having faith in Christ into a man of God, who was determined to live in order to bring His Lord honor and glory. As difficult as life became for Rick, he never allowed the attacks of the adversary to discourage him from obeying and loving the Lord.
In today's scripture, Jesus is admonishing His disciples to do more than just have faith in Him. He commands us to love the Lord with all our hearts. In most parts of the world, it doesn't require much to confess or have faith in Christ. However, when it comes with a price of personal sacrifice, it can become very trying on us to demonstrate great faith.
In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. As we move beyond the initial commitment of faith in Christ and begin to demonstrate our faith through love, we will no longer live for "self," but we will live, instead, for the glory and honor of our Lord. As a result of such love, we will exemplify a testimony of having Christ living in our hearts and ruling over our decisions.
There is so much more to being a disciple of Christ than just confessing faith in Him. If we will choose, like so many who have gone before us, to live our new lives to serve and honor Christ, then others will be able to see His strength, characteristics, and heart shining through our love for Him. Didn't Jesus also command us to let our lights so shine before men that they would see our "GOOD WORKS" and glorify the Father in heaven? We must decrease through personal sacrifice and, at times, choose to suffer so that we might obey God's will in order for others to see Christ in us.
As people of faith, we can either allow suffering and persecution to prevent us from obeying the Father's will, or we can choose to love the Lord more than ourselves, and through obedient faith, bring glory and honor to His holy name. The choice is ultimately up to you to decide.
I Must Decrease and He Must Increase,
Pastor Asa Dockery