You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt 22:27-40, ESV)This is Christ's answer to "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" (Matt 22:36). A similar answer is recorded in Mark 12:29-31 when Jesus is asked, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" (Mark 12:28)
What Christ is defining here is what is of greatest importance to those who are subjects in the kingdom of God, who are the followers of the King of the Kingdom of God, namely, of Christ Himself. There are two fundamental characteristics of a disciple of Christ, and a third characteristic that is a corollary to the first two:
- A follower of Christ loves God with all that he is. That is, a follower of Christ is God-centered in all of his life. (Matt 22:37; Mark 12:30)
- A follower of Christ loves loves others as if they were himself. That is, a follower of Christ is other-focursed. (Matt 22:39; Mark 12:31)
- A follower of Christ does not place himself at the center of importance nor focus upon loving himself.