In the 12th chapter of Mark, one of the scribes asks Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answers the question by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18:

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall 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: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” …Mark 12:29-31

Jesus makes it clear that the most important command is to love God with all that is within us. Because He is the only true and living God and because He has first loved us, our natural response should be to love Him in return! (1 John 4:19)

The type of love Jesus is referring to here is much different than how love is typically viewed in our world today. This is a love that’s not based on feelings or emotions, but a choice or a decision. It’s a decision we make to take pleasure in the things of God.

The “Helps Word-studies” describes this ‘agapao’ love as “embracing God’s will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power” as well as, “actively doing what the Lord prefers.” 1 God has chosen to love us, even though we don’t deserve it. Because of that, we choose to love Him and surrender our lives to Him in humble obedience.

God has chosen to show us what true love is by giving His only Son to die on the cross for our sins:

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” …Romans 5:8

There is no greater demonstration of love than for our perfect Savior to lay down His life for a sinful world. Choosing to love God and choosing to continue to grow or ‘excel’ in our love for God is rooted in gratitude for who God is and for all that He has done.

As we come to appreciate the amazing love and grace of God, we take joy in pleasing Him and obeying His commands!

Jesus said,

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” …John 14:15

He also said,

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me” …John 14:21

Love for God is demonstrated through our actions and our obedience to His will.

When we trust and appreciate that our Lord has first loved us and that He knows much better than we do what is best for us, we can be completely devoted to His will and His purpose for our lives. The more we understand God and the love He has for us, the more we will be motivated to grow or ‘excel’ in our love for Him!

To God Be the Glory!

Excel Still More!



Billy Clabaugh
Author | + posts

Billy, his wife Shayla, and their son Caleb live in Sayre, Oklahoma where he has been blessed to preach since 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Oklahoma Christian University and a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Eastern New Mexico University. He enjoys reading, watching the Oklahoma Sooners, spending time with his family, and serving in the Kingdom of God.  Billy also serves on the board of directors for Excel Still More and is a regular speaker and writer for the workshop and other publications.