One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 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.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
No True Believer is “far” from the Kingdom of God. So, the question really isn’t what is the first of all of the Commandments, but rather where is it that a Believer’s heart and actions lie “truly”. Most Believers will tell you that they Believe in God and His Commandments, but most of us (if we’re being honest) aren’t really living out God’s Commandments. It’s in the simple obedience to God’s Laws that we grow closer to God (and, then, to the Kingdom of Heaven). The world is hell-bent on distracting us from living and loving like Jesus did. The counter-attack from the devil can come right after we’re leaving Church and someone cuts us off in their car. It can come in an inconvenient mishap that causes us to be late and pushes the limits of our patience. It can be a passing advertisement that catches our attention with a moment of lust and/or greed. You see, the Spiritual War is real and satan is pulling-out all of his old tricks to do everything in his power to take us, our Families and Friends, and ever last Soul on earth to hell along with him and his demons. So, how do we do this in our fleshly, sinful state? By listening, trusting, and obeying Him through a reckless love and relentless focus on the Good (per Philippians 4:8). We can always be close to God with this kind of focus – even when we stumble and even when we fall. Jesus got scourged, beaten, mocked, etc. on His way to Calvary to die. But Jesus always got back-up – even when He fell down. We must always get back-up and always remember who we are in Christ. And, like Jesus, let’s to do our best with the Grace of God’s Help (and all of the Angelic Hosts) to be laser-focused on the Mission at hand – the full repentance of sinners and the salvation of Souls. Jesus tells us that if we want to get to Heaven, we have to take up our Crosses, drag them through the outer streets of Jerusalem, and follow Him to our own worldly crucifixions (Matthew 16:24). For it’s when things look their darkest in our lives that God’s Light shines the brightest!