How we identity ourselves drives our behavior. How we see ourselves determines the value system we let into our hearts. Our value system is the frame of reference through which we view life. That frame of reference is how we view ourselves. We actually read the Bible through it – as it even shapes how we see God.

In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus says the Greatest Commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

What would we say is the most important thing about our lives?  Would we say our eternal salvation is more important than any other thing?

If we love God the most, and our neighbor as ourselves then our primary cause should be God’s Great Commission, which Christ states in Matt 28: 18-20. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 8:36 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but to forfeit (or lose) his soul?

How many of us would agree that sharing Christ with others and promoting discipleship in Him is indeed the greatest endeavor to which we can attach ourselves?

Here is a litmus test to determine if we indeed are putting God first by loving Him the most.  When you hear certain Bible verses do you praise God for them, or do you think or say “But there are issues of feminism, or social justice, or sustainability or racism that need to be considered-along with that,”? When we place our favorite causes ahead of The Word of God, whom we say is our first love – we should feel convicted that God is not our first priority and focus.

Is our identity as Mark 12:30-31, people who love God most, subtlety being undermined by Satan, who has leavened our loaves with good sounding causes that may be coloring our view of Scripture?  In Mark 8:5, Jesus cautioned us, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Herod represented the government of Jesus’ day.)  “Leaven” is a pervasive influence that modifies and transforms our view of things. When we hear Scripture, how we see ourselves in relation to it determines whether we are walking in the Lord’s liberty or if we’ve been manipulated to identify with a man-made cause that may be undermine our relationship with God, and frustrating God’s grace in our lives.

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