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Jesus' summary of God’s will for your life

May 13, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 22:34-40

34 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had left the Sadducees speechless, they met together. 35 One of them, a legal expert, tested him. 36 “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being [Deuteronomy 6:5], and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself [Leviticus 19:18]. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Scholar William Barclay noted that there were two schools of thought among rabbis. Some believed “there were lighter and weightier matters of the law… great principles which were all-important to grasp.” Others “held that every smallest principle was equally binding.” * Similarly, some of us want God’s will to specifically direct every smallest decision, while others see God’s will as focused in the “weightier matters,” the great principles that shape our lives. Jesus wasn’t unsure about that—he saw some principles as central to understanding God’s will, far more vital than others. Loving God and loving your neighbor, Jesus said, are the greatest commandments, pivotal expressions of God’s will.

  • The words Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6 were sweeping: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Doesn’t leave much out, does it? Then he added, from Leviticus 19, “You will love your neighbor as yourself.” How can those two great commandments form the foundation from which to make choices that accord with God’s will, whether in regard to your finances, your work, your place of residence, your relationships or any other parts of your life?

Lord Jesus, sometimes I want what I want so much that it’s really hard to even think about what you want. Please keep me growing in my willingness to live into your will—which is, ultimately, what I want when I’m aware of what is best for me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Blake Thomas

Blake Thomas

Blake Thomas serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection's West location. Blake is an Olathe, KS, native, and has also lived in Chicago serving in different ministry capacities. He earned a double B.A. in Youth Ministry and Bible & Theology from North Park University, and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He loves getting to journey alongside students at COR!

I’m a 3 on the Enneagram. If you do not know what the Enneagram is, the Enneagram is a personality test that is made up of 9 different personality types assigned to a number. I am a 3 which is the “Achiever.” What this means is that my personality is task-oriented, ambitious, and highly driven. If you ask me to work on a project or want to grab a cup of coffee, I will stick with it 110% and the thought of it will probably be on my mind until it is completed. Give me a to do list and I will be eager to check things off it! To find out more about the Enneagram including an upcoming special event at Resurrection, CLICK HERE.

Now with all strengths there are growth areas. While I am task-oriented and can quickly move from thing to thing, this often means I miss out on opportunities around me because I am so focused on the immediate task I’m thinking about. I have daily opportunities pick up trash on the sidewalk, text that friend to let them know I’m praying for them, or say “thank you” to my Amazon delivery person as they walk away from my front doorstep. Instead, these moments are often met with excuses like “one more email” or “I’ll get to it next time” or “I need to jump in the car and start driving.” I often get stuck in not recognizing small opportunities throughout my day where I could have had the chance to live out God’s will.

The part of the Scripture today that sticks out to me today is “love your neighbor as yourself.” I know how to love myself. I do it by setting my agenda and choosing what tasks to do because of being an Enneagram 3. However, if I chose to direct the drive and ambition that is part of my personality towards God and my neighbor, I have no doubt that I would be able to live out this command within all my tasks and to do lists. I have found that when I take moments in my schedule and movement to pause and look around me, I am reminded that Jesus is showing up in my life and that the thing that matters first is loving God and those around me.

Each day I start my day praying that I will allow myself to live out God’s will instead of my own. This is hard work for some of us! It is hard to see the to do list or the sport’s schedule and not get preoccupied with all that is ahead of you. If this is a challenge for you, I invite you to give yourself some grace and to be reminded that you are trying your best to recognize where Jesus is showing up for you each day. I encourage you to find those moments in your day to pause and ask yourself, “How can I love God and my neighbor right now in this moment?” Jesus is never short on showing up in our life. It is up to us to remember his will is simple and invites us to something much bigger and more powerful than ourselves.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark (Revised Edition). Lousiville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 294-295.