To begin, then. This command demands a duty. That duty is, that we should love God. How many men do break this?
You will find those who rail at the very being of a God, though in their consciences they know there is a God, yet with their lips will blasphemously deny his existence. These men say there is no God, because they wish there were none. The wish is father to the thought; and the thought demands great grossness of heart, and grievous hardness of spirit before they dare to express it in words; and even when they express it in words, it needeth much practice ere they can do it with a bold, unblushing countenance. Now, this command beareth hard on all them that hate, that despise, that blaspheme, that malign God, or that deny his being, or impugn his character.
Another class of men know there is a God, but they neglect him, they go through the world with indifference, “caring for none of these things.” “Well,” they say “it does not signify to me whether there is a God or not.” They have no particular care about him; they do not pay one half so much respect to his commands as they would to the proclamation of the Queen.They rise in the morning without a prayer, they rest at night without bending the knee, they go through the weeks business, and they never acknowledge a God.
Religion is a personal matter between you and your Maker. Your Maker says “Thou shalt love me with all thine heart:” it is of no use for you to point your finger across the street, and point at a minister whose life is inconsistent, or at a deacon who is unholy, or to a member of the church who does not live up to his profession. You have just nothing to do with that. When your Maker speaks to you, he appeals to you personally; and if you should tell him, “My Lord, I will not love thee, because there are hypocrites,” would not your own conscience convince you of the absurdity of your reasoning? Ought not your better judgment to whisper “Inasmuch, then, as so many are hypocrites, take heed that thou art not; and if there be so many pretenders who injure the Lords cause by their lying pretensions, so much the more reason why thou shouldst have the real thing, and help to make the church sound and honest.”
The great fault of our time is the fault of indifference; people do not care whether the thing is right or not. What is it to them? They never take the trouble to search between the different professors of religion to see where the truth lies; they do not think to pay their reverence to God with all their hearts. Oh, no, they forget what God demands, and so rob him of his due.
God does not say thou shalt wonder at him, thou shalt have awe of him. He asks more than that; he says “Thou shalt love me!”
How much am I to love God?? Where shall I fix the point? I am to love my neighbor as I love myself. Am I to love my God more than that? Yes, certainly. The measure is even greater. We are not bound to love ourselves with all our mind, and soul, and strength, and therefore we are not bound to love our neighbor so. The measure is a greater one. We are bound to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible