And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.Deuteronomy 6:5 (NLT)
“Rules without relationship breads rebellion.” As a former high school chaplain, this is a phrase I’ve heard spoken many times over the years. Generally, I’ve heard it said about students in school who disagree with the school’s standards. The concept of this quote is pretty straightforward. If all you are ever doing is telling people what they are doing wrong, they will eventually stop caring that they are doing wrong and, in fact, begin to do wrong on purpose just to irritate you. Why? Because there’s no relationship. At that point, you’re viewed as a dictator who doesn’t care for the person, just their compliance. But, rebellion doesn’t stop with just students.
Many police forces have begun to adopt a new strategy in helping keep the peace. They are sending officers into neighborhoods that have traditionally been hot beds for murder, violence, drugs, prostitution, and other evil acts, not to look for lawbreakers, but to meet the people. Some police departments have gone so far as to hold regular block parties and barbeques so that citizens can meet the police men and women, getting to know them on a personal level. They have found good success with this strategy. Why? Because relationships are the key to obedience. When you know someone, respect someone, then you honor them in word and action. Of course, we should already know that as Christians.
Jesus is often quoted when giving the Two Greatest Commandments (Matt. 22:36-40) – Love God, love others. But, most people don’t dig beyond His quote in the New Testament to find that Jesus was actually quoting from the Old Testament. In fact, our verse today is found buried in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” And, as you read through the rest of the chapter, you realize that this verse is leading into a whole lot of commands from God – rules, laws, directions to follow.
You see, God realizes that relationship is the most important thing. In fact, He desires a tight, eternal relationship with each one of us. It is only through this relationship that we can be, and desire to be obedient. When you know someone, respect someone, then you honor them in your word and action. Keeping God’s law begins and ends with loving Him.
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