The Two Great Commands

From Paul Tripp Ministries

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:34-40, ESV)

It seems like being called to loss:
a costly personal sacrifice
a dangerous life decision
outside of a reasonable life plan
making you wonder,
“What about me?”

It’s a radical, counterintuitive call.
The contrast between God’s plan
and our plan is stark.
the Two Great Commands
welcome you to the only place
where true freedom
lasting happiness
sturdy peace
long-term contentment
are to be found.
It is that garden of peace
where every human being
was meant to live
meant to know
true shalom of heart.

The Two Great Commands
don’t call you to loss
they invite you to incalculable gain.
In living for something bigger
than you
by divine grace
you are liberated from the idol of idols—
the idol of self.
You are liberated from the sad
of demanding too much
too often
from the people and things
around you
who will always fail to deliver.
Shrinking your life down to
the narrow confines of
your wants
your needs
your feelings
never produces the life of
that everyone craves.

There is glorious freedom
lasting joy
in living an outward
other-serving life.
When your heart is consumed
by love for God and love for others,
it is freed from that unhappy
place of bondage
where everything is about you
where there are a myriad of offenses
where there are no little wrongs
where the emotional pain of
constant disappointment paralyzes,
where anger and bitterness haunt.

The idol of self is a liar
never delivering what it promised
following each lie with another promise.
It keeps you hoping
for what will never be.
the Two Great Commands
welcome you to the only place
where true freedom
lasting happiness
sturdy peace
long-term contentment 
are to be found.
They are given to you by a God of grace
who knows you
loves you
wants you to thrive.
He calls you to things
you would not choose for yourself
not just for his glory
but with a generous heart
he calls you to them for your good.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

(Mark 10:17-27, ESV)

God bless,

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

1. Have you recently made a declaration, either with your lips or in your heart, that similar to the Rich Young Man, you have kept all (or most) of God’s commands? Perhaps you wouldn’t make such an extreme statement, but in what ways do you think of yourself more highly than you ought (Romans 12:3)?

2. Compare the Rich Young Man’s statement to the Apostle Paul’s declaration in 1 Timothy 1:15, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” Likewise, compare the praying Pharisee and Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14. How can you keep your spiritual posture humble and needy? Be specific.

3. Identify the possession, status, comfort, or convenience that would be the hardest for you to sacrifice for the Kingdom of God. Why do you value it so much? Is the value placed on it of eternal value?

4. How have you previously experienced bondage to sin, unsatisfied cravings for more, and overwhelming anxiety when you live for yourself and hoard possessions? Why would you want to return to this lifestyle? In what ways are you at risk of doing so?

5. How have you previously experienced freedom, fulfillment, and joy by loving God and serving others? Where you can step into these commands more fully this week and in the coming months. Be specific and look for opportunities.

The Two Great Commands

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

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