When asked which commandment is most important, Jesus responded, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Moreover, He says, “no other command is greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31). This passage is about two things: Theology and Trajectory. First, Jesus brings to mind the theological importance of who God is, as the Sole Sovereign Ruler and Redeemer. Second, He prescribes that the entirety of a person should aim at loving God and people. Looking at Jesus’ second point begs one to ask the question, what is driving the trajectory of our lives?
Theologian James K.A. Smith, in his book, ‘You Are What You Love’, writes that an accurate diagnostic question in knowing a person is not to ask them, ‘what do you know?’ but rather ‘what do you want’? He explains that our desires, our loves, wants and cravings are what truly drive and define us. Likewise, Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote in Confessions, “My weight is my love. Wherever I am carried, my love is carrying me”. Every person on earth is driven by what they long for, regardless of their knowledge or ignorance of it. Essentially, it is who we are. We are not just thinking beings; we are ‘desiring beings’. We all want something. Unfortunately, these desires or ‘loves’, according to Saint Augustine are disordered. Instead of loving God with our entire being, we love things or people, status or experience. We love created things rather than the Creator. We try to grasp the temporal and fleeting, not that which will last and deeply satisfy us. Hence, many lives are out of order: empty of meaning and purpose.
In contrast, to desire rightly brings everything back into its original design: To know God intimately, and to love God wholly and people sacrificially. Only then can we be driven by the gospel. To be driven by the gospel is to be, first and foremost, impacted and reordered by the gospel. And this begins with God and His story, which He is calling His people into, the narrative of Divine Love. “We love because he first loved us” (John 4:19). The gospel is a theocentric-love-saturated-initiative to bring order to our lives so that we can live in step with God’s will and purpose for human flourishing.
If you have not taken in the sacred gravitas of the gospel, then I invite you to come, wholeheartedly, to Calvary, and deeply ponder the extent of the love of Christ. Stand in awe of an empty tomb, which gave to humanity the eternal triumphant cheer, He has risen! Finally, with your entire being, fix your eyes on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). And may you be driven by the gospel, which desires to have all of you…for Himself, and His Glory.