Someone once asked me if I followed the first commandment before I followed the second commandment.
“It is the greatest commandment and the only one to live by,” she reminded me. “People sometimes think that the second one is the greatest and skip the first. But the second cannot be completed without the first.”
Then she quoted Mark 12:30:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Matthew 22:38 continues to say, “This is the first and the greatest commandment.” (NIV)
That word of wisdom stayed on my mind. I thought about it quit a lot. It boils down to loving the Lord with ALL that I am and in EVERY situation.
Wow, that is intense! It makes sense that it should be the first commandment. How can a person fulfill the second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” if they cannot understand the first. It is only through HIS love that we can come near to accomplishing loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Several days later I heard the Lord whisper the same words into my heart again, except this time he added, “I CHALLENGE you: love me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Again, this resonated with my soul, especially in this hour.
Those who went before us surely understood this concept of complete and total abandonment of love for their Lord or they would not have been able to endure the tragedies, heartaches and persecutions that they faced then and some still do.
This leads me to share something that is on my heart. I believe the Lord is warning each of us that “a wind is coming”. It will be wind that is so powerful and mighty that if I (we) do not hold onto this verse I (we) may be blown away by that wind’s power.
You already see the wind in the American government. It is blowing away dross. And it will continue to blow. Innocent people have to hold on with all they are worth. They must hold onto their faith, while others keep them steadfast through prayer support and encouragement. But I strongly believe that if those who are dealing in lies and deceit do not change they will be blown away by the power of that wind.
As I was contemplating these things in my heart I heard the natural wind blow outside. I looked outside my front door and noticed our flag (yes, we have a flag in the front of our house) whipping violently in the wind. It was so powerful that it wrapped itself tightly around the flagpole. Then the wind changed its direction which caused the flag to unwrap, only to wrap around the pole again in the opposite direction.
A thought crossed my mind: “This is what we will have to do, as believers. We will need to cling to the cross, just as the flag is clinging onto the flagpole. We cannot stay rigid or we will break. We must be pliable, so that we can move with the wind and cling to the cross.”
Adversities may come and go but the cross of Christ is solid and strong and will never be moved. Jesus is solid and strong and will never be moved. He is every believer’s foundation. He is our rock. If we want to stand strong in the wind of adversity we must be rooted in him; we must be embedded in the rock of our salvation.
“The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.” Ps 18:2 (GNT)
As these strong winds continue to blow we must realize that our good works will not get us through, nor our monetary values, nor our prestigious place in life, not even our friends and family (although faithful friends are of great worth). What will get us through the wind of conflict or adversity that is blowing into our lives, our communities and even our nation will be our unshakeable faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
God promises that he will shake what needs to be shaken. He is coming for a spotless bride. If gold is refined in fire, wouldn’t we be, as well?
Yet we don’t need to live in fear. In fact we should live in the joy of the Lord. That is where we will find our strength. Even Jesus saw the joy that was set before him. That joy helped him endure the cross. And he endured opposition (which we see right now in our nation.) Each of us need to look to Jesus as our example, so that we do not grow weary. (Hebrews 12)
Ultimately, we can rest in him because these battles are his. We need to continue to pray and praise him, in spite of the opposition. It is our praises that usher in His glory.
For me, in the midst the powerful wind, it comes down this:
Do I love him with all my heart?
Do I love him with all my soul?
Do I love him with all my mind?
Do I love him with all my strength?