Today I had the opportunity to listen to Ryan Holladay, the son of Tom Holladay, speak on this chapter in The Relationship Principles of Jesus. What a blessing to have someone with an inside track to really lay out what this 40 day journey is all about. If I had to summarize, as Ryan so eloquently pointed out, it all comes down to these famous verses from the Gospel of Mark -
Jesus answered, “The most important command is this: …Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second command is this: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. There are no commands more important than these.” – Mark 12:29-31 NCV
I think we all understand the second command – we hear it early on from a very young age. We call it the Golden Rule. But that first command can be much harder to succeed in fulfilling. As believers, we all say we love God, but do we love Him with all our heart…with all our soul…with all our mind…with all our strength? Have we built a relationship with him, a relationship with all the give and take?
I know my relationship has been focused more on the take. When I pray, I usually find myself asking, wanting, and sometime even begging. But that is not a relationship, it is a dependency. I need to offer more of myself, open my mind to a willingness to follow God’s will in my life. I don’t want to be that “relative” who only calls when they need something. I want to be able to say, that I’ve done everything I could, and that everything I’ve done, has been done to show love to God, my family, my friends, my acquaintance, strangers, colleagues, and even my enemies.
Listening to Ryan speak today, it really hit home that the most important thing God asks of us is that we have an ongoing relationship with Him that is continually striving to grow stronger and closer and that we love our fellow man as we want God to love us. Jesus never promised that either of these relationships would be easy or free from pain. He never promised there would not be disappointment or hurt feelings. And as you read through Chapter 1, you’ll see plenty of examples of this. But, God has given us love and love can overcome the obstacles that hinder our relationships. As we focus on that most important principle, and begin to build better relationships, God will bless us in ways that allow us to reach and affect more people for Him.
Day 2: The Attraction of Lesser Things
Photo: Ryan Holladay (c) 2009 Chris Earle Photography