WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 31, 2022
TOPIC: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE
BY T. O. BANSO
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version)
I have learnt that as human beings grow, they discover that some things they consider the most important in life are not. The more mature they become, the more they see that they were wrong, Therefore, what was most important to them in life five years ago may not be today. And what they consider the most important to them today may change in the next five years. Indeed, some events happen to people in life that refine them and their priorities.
Some people could think that the most important thing in life to them is to obtain a degree in a certain course and maybe come out with a first-class. It could be to get a top-flight job, travel abroad, or get married. But after achieving these goals, their expectations may not be met and, therefore, they could have a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction, wondering if those goals were worth all the efforts they put into them and the sacrifices they had made.
What do you consider the most important in life today? In ten years’ time, would you be right? Will it still remain the most important thing in life or you will choose something else? Many people neglect the most important thing in life and pour their lives into things that they might hate in the future or discover are not the most important. What really is the most important thing in life?
One of the Pharisees, a lawyer or expert in religious law, asked Jesus which was the great commandment in the law (Matthew 22:36). The New Living Translation presents the question thus: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” (Matthew 22:36). Jesus answered, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40 New King James Version).
This conversation is also recorded in Mark 12:28-31. Luke 10:25-28 records a similar conversation but it was a lawyer, who asked Jesus about how to inherit eternal life, that gave the answer about loving God and loving one’s neighbour as oneself.
From Jesus’ answer in Matthew 22:37-40 and Mark 12:28-31, the first and great (most important) commandment is love – love for God and fellow human beings. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that out of faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love. The greatest is not faith or hope, as important as they are, but love.
What is the relevance of this to the question about the most important thing in life? Whether people realize it now or not, the most important thing in life is not money, wealth, power, fame, or other things that people often celebrate. The most important thing in life is your relationship with God and fellow human beings. I think this is reflected in the answer of Jesus to the question by the lawyer on which was the most important commandment.
Jesus said the first and great (greatest) commandment was to love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. He said the second was to love your neighbour as yourself. According to Him, on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. In other words, all the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.
Your relationship with God and other human beings is the most important thing in life. And Satan always fights this. He doesn’t want you to have a good relationship with God or fellow human beings. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent made Adam and Eve disobey God, which affected their relationship with God. They were eventually evicted from the Garden. Man fell but God, through Jesus, redeemed man and reconciled the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). Romans 5:10 says “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (New King James Version).
Although Jesus died to bring the world back to God, Satan is still keeping many people away from Him. They have continued to be enemies of God. And if they continue like this, without responding to the love of God for them by accepting His Son, Jesus, as their Lord and Saviour, they will, unfortunately, end in hellfire, which is not God’s will for them. God wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
Did you see how Satan fought the relationship between Cain and Abel, two brothers? He made Abel kill his younger brother just because the LORD respected Abel and his offering but He did not respect Cain and his offering? (Genesis 4:3-8). Do you know how many brothers and sisters are not on good terms today? This is not to talk of rancorous relationships among couples, family members, neighbours, friends, and workers? Satan does not want you to have good relationships with God or others.
Do you know that your relationships with others affect your relationship with God? See what Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (New King James Version). What is the meaning of this? It simply means that your relationship with your brother is more important than the gift you want to give to God.
Jesus also said in Luke 17:3-4, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (New King James Version).
Your relationship with fellow human beings is the most important thing in life after your relationship with God, and the two are interrelated. Hear Jesus again: “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17 New King James Version).
You may have money, wealth, a powerful position, fame, and whatever, but if you don’t have a good relationship with God and your fellow human beings, you lack the most important thing. Unfortunately, many people pursue these things a the expense of their relationship with God and others. This is why you have to pay attention to what Jesus called the first and great commandment and the second commandment. Both can be summarized as loving God and loving fellow human beings.
How do you maintain a good relationship with God and fellow human beings? Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Loving God starts with giving your life to Jesus. Unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This is the most important thing. Give your life to Jesus and obey His Word. Jesus says if you love Him, you will keep His commandments (John 14:15). And His commandments are not burdensome. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 New King James Version).
Your relationship with God is the most important thing in life. Don’t let anything come between you and God. David said, “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4 New King James Version).
The devil will fight your relationships with God and fellow human beings. Be careful. Don’t live without Christ and God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). Don’t live independently of God. Avoid bitterness towards God. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die. He didn’t but scolded the wife (Job 2:9-10)
Walk in love with your spouse, family members, and others. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him (1 John 4:16b). He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (verse 8). Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law (verse 8).
Nobody is perfect; we’re all work-in-progress. Satan will try to cause strife between you and others. If you know that his goal is to spoil your relationships, you won’t allow him. 2 Timothy 2:23 says you should avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. As far as it is possible for you, be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). Pursue the things which make for peace (Romans 14:19). Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Forgive wrongs. Cherish your relationship with God and fellow humans.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to value my relationship with You and fellow human beings as the most important on earth. I shall love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. I shall seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Holy Spirit, guide me against strife. Help me to work in love and be at peace with others. I pray for the salvation of those yet to be saved that they will surrender their lives to Jesus and be at peace with God and fellow human beings.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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