First Commandment: All Strength
In our last post, we saw Paul embrace the first commandment.
“HEAR, O ISRAEL; THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD: AND THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND,
AND WITH ALL THY STRENGTH:
this is the first commandment.”
Mark 12:29,30, KJV
Our heavenly Father’s hands pour out his goodness and love upon us all. None are exempt, but many do not recognize the abundance of the Lord’s grace. These take, receive, and use all God provides for personal gain, pleasure, and comfort in this life alone. This is not the way of the Lord for the followers of Christ.
Jesus explained it in a parable. He begins the story with—
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man
traveling into a far country,
who called his own servants,
and delivered unto them his goods.”
Matthew 25:14, KJV
Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven into this far country to show us the way and be the way to his heavenly kingdom. It belongs to his servants whom he left as stewards. Paul calls us ambassadors. When the Lord returned to the heavenly Father, he didn’t leave us without help, without strength to do the works of his kingdom. He delivered his goods to us—the first being his indwelling Holy Spirit to be our strength.
When Jesus commands us to love God with all our strength, he is providing the strength, the ability, the power, the force required to be a good ambassador/servant and do the work at hand.
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God:
If any man minister,
let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:
that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:11
In the parable of the talents, the man gave each servant according to the ability he had to care for the man’s goods. Our heavenly Father gives us each different strengths and abilities to complete the body of Christ and do the work of his kingdom. He is the power filling us to be faithful to our calling. The Lord wants us to know—
- “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,
- according to the working of his mighty power,
- Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
- and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
- Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
- And hath put all things under his feet,
- and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
- Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:19-23, KJV
The power that raised Christ from the dead is the power filling us, the body of Christ. He is our strength.
“Strengthened with all might,
according to his glorious power,
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
Colossians 1:11, KJV
Jesus Christ has made us sharers in all his goods. He expects us to do as the faithful stewards in his parable did—invest it all in the kingdom of heaven, producing fruit to the Father’s glory. He is not pleased when we bury our salvation among the world’s pleasures or cares.
The Lord’s first commandment doesn’t give room for us to withhold of the goodness He has given us.
He desires us to love him
- with all our heart,
- all our soul,
- all our mind,
- and all our strength.
After all, He is the one who cleansed our heart, gave us new life, filled our mind with his wisdom and understanding, and empowered us with his great power.
May this be the prayer we pray for one another as we learn to fulfill the first commandment.
“Wherefore also we pray always for you,
that our God would count you worthy of this calling,
and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness,
and the work of faith with power:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
may be glorified in you, and ye in him
According to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 1:11,12, KJV
Fulfilling this first commandment is the secret to fulfilling the second—which is for another time.
What is the Lord asking of you? What holds you back?