30,31 "“And you shall love the Lord your God … with all your strength … you shall love your neighbor as yourself ..."
Mark 12:30,31 (ESV)
We’ve looked at how to be “ALL IN” with our hearts, our souls and our minds. But Jesus didn’t stop there, He included loving God with all of our strength and loving others like we love ourselves.
Perhaps these two final instructions are actually the most difficult for us to accomplish in our fallen human natures, and I believe Jesus wanted to be sure that we got the message that we can’t do this without His help.
In my humanness, I always hold something back for myself.
I may think I’m loving with all my strength, and I may convince myself that I’m selflessly loving others, my teammates and my family. But in reality, I’m usually thinking of my own flesh first, my comfort, my desires and my needs.
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and gauge where we are in our strength of loving God and others. As you read each statement, choose the answer that best describes you and record your points. always (8 points) sometimes (6) seldom (4) never (0)
- I’m patient with my parents. ____
- I’m kind to the referees.____
- I’m happy when my classmates succeed. ____
- I’m humble and quiet about my abilities. ____
- I use kind, encouraging words during competition. ____
- I put others before myself. ____
- I’m slow to anger when I make a mistake. ____
- I forgive others quickly. ____
- I forget quickly when my feelings are hurt. ____
- If someone starts to gossip, I walk away. ____
- I only share truthful, uplifting things about others. ____
- I protect the reputation of others. ____
- I trust God fully. ____
- I have hope in every situation. ____
- I’m faithful to my friends, team, coach and family. ____
How did you do? There were 120 points possible. The higher your score, the better. But the truth is, unless you got a perfect score, you are missing the mark, because God’s standard is perfect love.
In fact, there is only one person who has ever loved perfectly, and that is Jesus. He is our ALL IN model for loving God and others.
This kind of love is impossible on our own, but the good news is that God helps us. Romans 5:5 says, “… God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Christian, it’s God who is at work in you, enabling you to love others through the work of His Holy Spirit. My question for you is: Are you yielding yourself to God’s work in every area of your life?
Athlete, you are a continual work in progress, so don’t give up or get discouraged. With God’s help you can begin to love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and you can learn to love your neighbor as yourself.
A prayer to consider: Lord, You’re ALL IN for us, so that we can be ALL IN for You. Thank You.