But it runs deeper . . .

We seem to judge ourselves by our actions. We measure our spirituality by what we do, how we act, how much self-control we exhibit in a stressful situation, etc. Living in a physical world, it is sometimes hard to discard the physical measuring device and apply a spiritual standard to our lives.

The Israelites had exactly the same problem. One specific man asked Jesus which commandment was the greatest. I would imagine that this man was thinking of actions. He probably was imagining what was the greatest thing to do or refrain from doing. Perhaps he was thinking of "Thou shalt not kill," or Thou shalt not commit adultery." Jesus’ view was different. It’s not the action that is the greatest fault, it’s the underlying state of the heart.

Jesus’ said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Jesus said that the greatest commandment, the most important commandment to fulfill, is that you love God. Love? Let that sink in. Do you love God? "Yes," you might say, "I obey Him, I put Him first." But do you love Him?

We might view an outward action as the height of sin. Murder! That’s a horrible sin. We could think that murder is the height of sin, but it runs deeper. The sin is greater than the sinful action. The motive is sin. The filthy thoughts of hate are sins. The allowing of the heart to fester in anger is sin. The prideful focus on personal desires instead of sacrificial ones is sin. Murder is simply the fruit of all that wickedness that was rotting the heart of the person who committed the act.

As a fellow child of the King, I would exhort you. Don’t take pride in how much you have done. Or how much you have refrained yourself to do. Don’t evaluate yourself by how much you have "acted well." Remember Christ’s standard. Remember the greatest commandment. Though your faults are many, almost all of them, if not all, can be traced to the neglect of one command. Are making the decision to love God? Do you desire His pleasure above all else? I challenge you, seek to love God, more than anything else. You will find that your actions will naturally conform you your innermost desires.


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