Scripture: Mark 12:28–34
Key Verse: “And you shall love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30–31)
One of the most frequently asked questions I have heard from military teens is, “What is the purpose of life?” or better stated, “What is my purpose in life?” Stop for a minute and think about how you would answer that question. It’s an important one. In today’s reading, Jesus is asked by a sincere man, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”—another version of the purpose and priorities question. Jesus said that loving God with everything you are is the most important, and right after that comes and outflow of love for others. If you put these commands in order of priority it spells J.O.Y.—Jesus first, Others, and You. As we live this out, God will give us his joy, which is our strength.
Many people put themselves first in all things. Jesus is way down on the list, or not on their list at all. That leads to a self-centered and self-destructive lifestyle. But when you obey the command to love Jesus, others, and yourself (J.O.Y.), God’s purpose will be lived out in you as you make decisions today and every day. So, your purpose? Love God. Love others. Love yourself.
What would your life look like if you started every day with the J.O.Y. priority list guiding all your decisions? What might you need to change to do this?
A good way to see how God has brought purpose to your life is to start a journal in which you write down what God does in your life every day, as you choose to put him first in all things. You may write a little note to yourself each day to capture what happened that day. Then as you look back and review each month of your journal you will see how god has brought purpose to your life and how you have served God and others.
Jesus, show me how to center my life on you. Bring people into my life that will teach me how to live this way–with you first in all things. I love you, Jesus. Thanks for loving me. Amen.