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I grew up going to church nearly every week. Whether I liked it or not, it was the thing that my family did week in and week out. There were aspects of church that my family enjoyed, but if I was honest, back then I always kind of wrestled with the whole God thing.

What I really struggled with was not knowing what God wanted from me. That is one of the big questions that many of us ask at times.

In Mark 12 we read of an encounter Jesus had with a religious teacher of his day. The teacher was more than likely an expert of the Old Testament Law, and like many other scribes, he knew the 613 separate commandments in the Old Testament inside and out. Because of his knowledge, and because he wanted to test Jesus, the teacher asked Him “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

To say it another way, it would be this “What does God really want most from us?”

Jesus’ answer was simple yet profound. In Mark 12: 29-31 we read, “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Isn’t that incredible?! Jesus’ response isn’t what it seems that most people today would have expected to hear. It can be tempting to think that God simply wants us to be good people, to be spiritual, to go to church, etc.

Yet, instead of answering in any of those ways, Jesus gives a much bigger picture of what it is that God really wants most from us. What God desires most for us is that we would love Him. God desires for us to be in a loving relationship with Him.

You see, to God, if a person’s church attendance and good works are not done out of their love for God, then those actions are empty. Likewise, God doesn’t desire for one too simply know about Him, instead what He desires is for each of us to be in a loving relationship with Him. When we don’t have that we miss out on the joy and blessings God desires for each of us.

A great question to ask yourself daily is this: am I giving God what I think He wants or what Jesus has said that He wants more than anything else?

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