Week 45: Integrity



28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 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.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34

OK…so a scribe, which is basically a religious expert, comes up to Jesus and asks Him what commandment was most important in all of the Law or Old Testament. Jesus has over 600 to choose from. He quotes the “Shema” from Deuteronomy 6 and adds to it a verse from Leviticus 19 about loving our neighbor.   

Jesus is saying that what is most important is not what we do but who God is. That when we see God for who He is, the ONE true God, then we respond with our one and only life. Jesus says that we are to love God with all. The word integrity comes from the root word integer meaning ONE. Jesus is saying that we really don’t have compartments of our lives and we are to give God one of those compartments.   

He saying that we are to love God with all of our lives.  He then gives four categories that in essence make up our one and only life. I have always found it very helpful to evaluate my walk with the Lord by examining these four aspects of my one and only life.

Jesus says that we are to love God with all of our heart. Do your relationships express that you love God with all? Is there someone that you need to forgive? Is there someone that you to seek reconciliation with? Do you have people in your life that are praying for you and that love you enough to say the tough thing that would direct you back to God? A part of loving God with all of our heart is to have relationships that reflect that the Lord our God is One.   

Jesus says to love God with all of our soul. Have you surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Are there parts of your soul that, if you are being honest, you have kept off limits to the Lord? Are you experiencing the peace of Christ at the soul level or are you anxious about your current circumstances? What would it look like to love God with all of your soul?   

Jesus also says to love God with all of your mind. Does your thought life reflect the glory of God? Are you increasing your knowledge of God through the study of His word? Do the things that you choose to put into your mind through entertainment choices and social media stir your affections for the Lord or stifle them? The bible says that we should take captive every thought and set our minds on things above.  

Jesus closes by saying that we should love God with all of our strength. How you are doing physically? Are you being a good steward of your one and only body? Do you eat well, do you sleep enough? Are you getting some form of exercise? OR…maybe you are on the other extreme…are you obsessing over your body and worshipping your physical self instead of stewarding it for God’s Glory?

Now, I think a part of the reason that Jesus lists these four areas is to help us think through what it means to love God with all. For instance, have you ever met someone that took care of themselves physically, they knew tons about the Bible, and they were for sure a Christian and yet when it came to relationships no one could stand to be around them? Or maybe you know the person that physically, mentally and relationally is doing great but things are empty at the soul level.   

You see, Jesus doesn’t just want part of us or part of our life. He wants All. So what changes do you need to make in response to the ONENESS of God in order that you can love God with all of you? Now the reality is none of us can truly love God with all, so Jesus did it for us. There is one verse that describes the life of Jesus from 12 years old until He began His public ministry in his 30s. It’s found in Luke 2:52, and it is a fulfillment of the great commandment: “52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Jesus grew is wisdom (mind) and in stature (strength) and in favor with God (soul) and man (heart). 

So, as you continue to deepen your relationship with Jesus may you continue to grow in loving the ONE True God with your one and only life.