ODJ: the basics

August 14, 2015 

READ: Matthew 22:34-40 

Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? (v.36).

My friend is a highly qualified mountaineer who has climbed some of the world’s greatest rock and ice routes, including the famous north walls of the Eiger and Matterhorn. So does he teach his clients how to climb better by demonstrating specialised equipment, showing them how to pull themselves up with two fingers on steep walls of rock, or how to place ice axes into ice that’s only a quarter-inch thick? You would think so, but he actually spends the first few days teaching them how to walk! Most people assume they have the basics sorted out, but—in fact—they can’t even walk properly, and that will prevent them from climbing to their full potential.

Ancient lawyers, experts in Mosaic law, assumed they knew the Scriptures and how to best follow God. Being highly educated, they thought they could easily outwit a carpenter’s son (Matthew 22:35). But these ‘experts’ showed their ignorance by missing the basics about God’s Word: it’s all about love!

Sometimes we too can become bogged down in debates about what we perceive to be most important about the Scriptures. But let’s get back to the basics: God loved the world (John 3:16); Jesus is the only way to God (14:6); we must be born again (3:7); we’re made right with God by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9); and we know we’re His children because His Spirit is in us (2 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 8:16).

All of these are fundamentals, but the root of it all is: do you love God with all that you are? From this will come the revelation of Jesus and the fullness of His Spirit working in you. It was true for the lawyers and it’s true for us today. It’s all about God’s love for us and our response to such great love!

—Russell Fralick

365-day-plan: Luke 15:1-10

Look at the greatest commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Then read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and assess how well you’re truly loving God and others. 
What are the fundamentals found in the Bible as far as you’re concerned? Prayerfully present these to God, and ask Him to reveal if any are mere traditions or acquired dogmas rather than true foundations of faith in Him.