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Not Far…

“Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ ” Mark 12:34

A scribe has just asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest. Jesus answered him by saying that to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is the greatest and that to love your neighbor as yourself is the second.

To this answer the scribe responds, “Well said…”. And then, after basically repeating what Jesus said, adds that obeying these commands is better than all whole burnt offerings.

So Jesus, seeing that the man had responded to him wisely, answered by telling the scribe that he was “not far from the kingdom of God.”

But one may ask, “Why is he only not far from the kingdom? With an answer like that why isn’t he already in the kingdom?”

The answer to that question is this simple. The kingdom of God isn’t found in answers to questions. He kingdom of God is found in the obedient actions of the lives we live. Knowing what to do and say will only ever get you “not far from the kingdom of God.”

To get into the kingdom of God you have to actually love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. And you can’t do either of these on your own. The sinful heart simply won’t cooperate. Fortunately God doesn’t wait for you to love him for him to start loving and helping you. When it comes to obeying the greatest and second greatest commandments you have to reach out to God for help. And the good news is that if you ask for help God will always answer yes.

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