Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Monday, January 18

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” — Matthew 22:37-38

Loving the Lord

Books and podcasts teach a lot of important lessons for coaches and players as they strive for excellence in competition, but seasoned veterans often teach us more by their words and actions. Many professionals have families, and most people yearn for long-term relationships and harmony. We often learn about lasting love from our elders.

For example, Claude and Myrtle were married longer than many people live and loved each other more with each passing year. They had problems like everyone but found ways to get along. They worked together to raise their son and influence their grandchildren in a positive way. As the years passed, they didn’t let anything or anybody pull them away from their love for one another. 

True love is a two-way street where both persons show attention and concern for the other. This idea holds true in families, friendships, churches and in our relationship with God. Though God is committed to us, He may wonder whether or not we are committed to Him. In fact, Jesus confronted self-centered religious leaders who neglected God. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

We may have good intentions about our relationship with God, but we are easily distracted toward lesser things. We are like wandering, aimless sheep when we forget about God. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). When we think about Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice for us, then our rebellion is even more inexcusable. 

Yet, God reaches out in mercy and calls us to come back where we belong. “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! … I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:1, 4).

Though we become believers in a moment, the Christian life is a daily battle to maintain wholehearted love for God. Has there been a time when we loved God more than we do today? If so, the gracious God keeps an open door.

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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