If someone asked you “what is the most important thing that someone could possibly do,” what would your answer be?
Jesus’ answer in Mark 12:30 is “love…God.”
Love is one of the most important words in the Bible and appears roughly eight hundred times in the Old and New Testaments. In our culture, though, it is one of the most misunderstood and misused words.
Simply put, when the Bible says that God is love, it means that He is relational. God wants a relationship with you. This is why He speaks to us through Scripture and listens to us through prayer. Furthermore, God made us like Him, in a limited sense, to be in loving relationship with Him and others, starting with what Jesus calls our “neighbor.” Therefore, our loving relationships are supposed to start at home with our family members who sleep in the rooms next to ours.
Here’s how God explains it in Genesis 1:26, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ ” Did you catch the “our” language? Again, this is the Bible’s way of letting us know about the Trinity, that there is “one” God made up of the three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. It’s important to remember that our God is ALL ABOUT loving relationships. This is not merely what God does, this is how God is!
Our God is a loving and relational God, and He made us to be loving and relational people. We are literally handmade and hardwired for loving relationships. We are not supposed to live life alone. In fact, while the world was still perfect and before sin occurred, God said it was “not good” for us to be “alone” in Genesis 2:18. Today, in our sin infected and corrupted world, our need for loving relationship is even greater.
If you have ever flown on an airplane, you have likely heard the safety speech that is given at the beginning of the flight. We are told that in case of an emergency oxygen masks will drop. The attendant tells us to put our own mask on first before we put the mask on a child with us. This allows us to be healthy and alert when caring for the child.
Life is like a flight. Jesus is our captain. Our relationship with Him is our proverbial oxygen mask. On Jesus Airlines, when the storms hit and lightning strikes, there will be times of turbulence until we land in His Kingdom. Both parents and children need to have their masks on so they can stay alive and alert. In order for this to happen, parents (and other caregivers) have to put their mask on first. If we are not in a healthy, life-sustaining relationship with God where the Holy Spirit puts His life-giving nourishment into our soul, then we will not be able to care for the child sitting on the flight next to us. This is what Jesus means in Mark 12:28–31 saying that we need to first “love God” and then second “love our neighbor.”
How is your Bible reading? How is your prayer life? How is your relationship with God? How can you improve your relationship with God? What are some practical things you can do this week to help your child’s relationship with God?