Links Daily Devotional

The Ultimate Game Changer

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27, NIV)

After watching players hit wedges into 520-yard par-4s at Erin Hills last week, I think we all recognize how much the game has changed since the days of persimmon drivers and balata balls. It would be hard to pinpoint one single thing or event that has led to the significant differences in today’s game, but the changes in the balls, the drivers, the shafts, and the physical fitness of the golfers themselves, have resulted in a game that is much different than it was just 20 years ago. This is celebrated by some, but many traditionalists are struggling to embrace this permanently changed game.

Jesus took away all our excuses for not knowing how to love God best.When we look at scripture, we also cannot help but see an obvious migration from the traditions of the Old Testament to the game-changing teachings of the New. Clearly, the game changer was Jesus. In the gospels, we find his many interactions with the frustrated religious traditionalists. Among other things, Jesus forever changed how we answer the all-important question that led to today’s verse, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Or similarly, “What matters most to God?”

In the tenth chapter of Luke we find an interaction with Jesus and an expert in religious law who had obviously heard Jesus answer this question before. But he needed a little clarification on the second part. The traditional Jewish response about loving God fully is found in Deuteronomy 6:5, which does not include “and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus had merged part of another familiar verse of Jewish scripture to his answer. In Leviticus 19:18 we read, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.

This expert of religious law felt the need to justify his actions, since he knew loving one’s neighbor could be more easily observed than loving an invisible God, and Jesus did not mention the “among your people” part of the verse. “Who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asks Jesus.

Jesus responded with the ever-famous parable of the Good Samaritan that is about the most unlikely hero coming to the rescue and showing great compassion for a Jewish man. This was a game-changing revelation to the world; Jesus forever changed the religious game of pleasing God by breaking down every wall that can come between us and our ability to love another one of God’s children. There is no gender, racial, geographic, political, religious or doctrinal difference that should get in the way of our ability to love God by loving others every day of our lives. Even if a person is “wrong,” we do right to love them!

Jesus made “how to please God” known and accessible to all of us by the way he lived and with this game-changing response to a very common religious question. By revealing God’s character to man, Jesus took away all our excuses for not knowing how to love God best. He took a vertical game and made it a horizontal game.

Josh Nelson
June 27, 2017
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