Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”


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Love is a relational word. It is an action word. It is also a choice.  Yes, of course, love involves feelings but, contrary to perfect world and fairy tale ideology, those feelings are not always pleasant. And, when the feelings aren’t pleasant, one must choose to press on in spite of them…if relationships are to survive, that is.  It takes love to make those hard choices because love is the willingness to choose a course of action that is in the best interest of others; even at the expense of your own best interests (or selfish desires).  Love is sacrificial.  It may be possible for people to fall in love but the longevity of the relationship will depend upon two people mutually choosing to stay that way.  Falling in love is usually emotional.  Staying in love is always work.  Falling is easy.  All I have to do is walk with my eyes closed.  Working to make something lasting and meaningful requires open eyes and diligent attention.  All too often in our micro-wave, instant gratification society, people who fall in love will spend more time trying to climb out of the hole when the going gets tough rather than sticking around to work things out.  Why?  Because they are suddenly no longer happy or fell out of love? Well, that’s convenient! Here’s a newsflash for you: Most falls end badly. You usually get hurt.

There is such a difference between God’s concept and man’s concept of love.

Revealing spiritual truth to the religious leaders of His day, Jesus makes an insightful summary about which is the greatest commandment.  Love God…Love Others.  He basically said, these two great commandments are the linchpins.  They hold together and fulfill all the spiritual principles written about in the law and by the prophets.  In so doing, Jesus is not excluding eight of the ten commandments.  Nor is He adding two new commandments. He is simply condensing the first four which guide our relationship with God (love God), and the next six which guide our relationships with our fellow man (love others). Jesus expresses that the true essence of God’s intention is motivated and sustained by love (see John 3:16). From this spiritual insight I gather that if love is the currency of God’s kingdom, it is to be spent developing meaningful and positive relationships that demonstrate His reality to the world.

I am able to love and experience love because God first loved me. For this reason, the order of love is set. First God, then others. My love for God impacts all my other relationships.  I believe it enriches them and makes them even more meaningful.  It also gives me a purpose for the relationships I develop in life. My goal is for my love for others to demonstrate and personify my love for God…and His love for me. It is my witness. I’m not saying that people who do not love God cannot love others.  I am saying, however, that there is a difference between love that originates from God versus love that originates from man.  Man’s love can lead you to love those who love you. It’s reciprocal.  God’s love, on the other hand, can lead you to love those who don’t love you or who are otherwise deemed unlovable. It’s unconditional.  And, I do believe that the ability for one human to love another is a seed for greater love. That seed is strategically implanted by the Father heart of God. When we choose to love God, it enhances and purifies all other loves.  Why? Because God is love.

The kingdom of God is not about rules. It’s about relationships…beginning with God. The religious leaders of the first century were misleading people to believe that rules govern relationship. Jesus reminded them…and us…that relationship governs and determines the rules. Because God first loved me unconditionally, I can love and grow in love towards Him. Because I can love God, I can unconditonally love myself. Because I can unconditionally love myself, I can learn to unconditionally love others. There are no rules that can make all that happen. You can’t legislate morality. And, the reality of this simple truth is that it will take me the rest of my life to master it and, even then, only by His grace. For that reason, I always consider myself a work in progress. It starts with a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It then spills over into loving my neighbor as myself.

…Peace and blessings…

~ joe

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  1. […] Love God-Love Others […]

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