September 22, 2019
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Yesterday we considered what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s the vertical love from you to God. When the vertical love is sincere and active it includes a second dimension. The vertical expands to contain the horizontal — loving others as we love ourselves.
Consistently demonstrating our love for God is easier in principle and practice than it is loving people. God’s love for us is perfect and unconditional. He never speaks to us in a negative tone. He never shows up late to an appointment. He never runs up the score on our team as some other coaches do. He never speaks behind our backs. But Jesus said that there are two commandments that go hand in hand — love God with all your being and love others as yourself. In fact, Jesus presents the second as a natural flow from the first.
Love for self is undeniable. We take care of our bodies. We eat when we are hungry. We rest when we are tired. We watch sports, movies, or read a book when we need to relax. When we’re thirsty, it’s time for a Sonic run to get a vanilla Dr. Pepper. In the same way we meet our needs, we are to meet the needs of others. You can’t minister to the entire world, but you can apply this passage right now to the people God has placed in your home and in your path.
Father, please allow my love for others to confirm my love for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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