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In Sunday school yesterday we studied from Mark 12:28-34. I’m focusing on the part that says to love God with all that you are.

We know we’re supposed to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But sometimes we like to come up with lists about how we are to obey God. Do this. Don’t do that. Dress just so. Listen to only very specific music. Police other people when they don’t live like you. We begin to leave the love out.

While it is important to know what is right and what is wrong, and how God wants you specifically to live, don’t focus on the list of rules. Focus on the love to your wonderful, good, loving God. God wants a relationship with us, not empty rule-following.

The scribe in this passage understood that doing what God wants because you love Him is better than sacrifices. Jesus told the man he was right. There are other places in the Bible where God tells His people that He doesn’t want their rule-following service, He wants their hearts and their love. Here are a few: Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (which Jesus references in this passage of Mark), 10:12-13; Micah 6:7-8.

When you are obeying God, be sure you are loving and not listing.