It Is Time To Get Our Love Back On
When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, He answered very clearly, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Several things stand out for me in Jesus’ response. The first is that the question posed for a singular answer (what is the most important commandment?) is in fact answered with two commandments.
Interestingly Jesus says that the second commandment is equally important. So loving others as we love ourselves is as important as loving God with our whole being. But what is undeniable is the common denominator in both commandments is love. More on that in a moment.
Another thing that stands out in Jesus’ response is that all the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. Translated this means that if we don’t get this right, loving God and loving others as we love ourselves, then we won’t get the rest right either. OUCH!
Over the years I have attended and conducted many seminars. Topics that I have sought out or taught range from finances, marriage, spiritual warfare, leadership, and prayer just to name a few. I have never attended or even heard about a seminar devoted entirely to the subject of love. Yet Jesus is saying that everything depends on us loving. So I wonder why there isn’t a seminar on this subject. (A side note: I am not saying there isn’t a seminar or workshop on the subject. I have never heard of one).
In the famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks about the superiority of love over such things as miraculous spiritual phenomena like speaking in tongues and prophesying about the future; having great faith to move mountains; and incredible sacrifice like giving away all your earthly goods and even giving up your life.
In addition Paul talks about the priceless qualities of love. Some of the qualities mentioned are patience, kindness, humility, not demanding, wanting justice, wanting truth, persevering, and enduring.
Paul’s conclusion is love, like faith and hope, will endure forever. However, in comparison to faith and hope, love is greater than the other two. LOVE SIMPLY IS THE GOLD STANDARD.
When we read what Jesus said and then use Paul’s criteria as a backdrop to compare the way we treat God and others, how do we measure up?
In view of the year 2020 I believe we Christians have not done the best job when it comes to loving God and others. I, for one, have found that the pressures of politics, pandemics, and prejudices have wore me out to the point that I feel that just spending time with God becomes a chore. Why that is stems from my feeling overwhelmed with what is going on. Interestingly, when I just love God in prayer, the peace and joy that comes should be enough of a motivator, but alas such is not always the case.
Loving others is even a harder exercise in this year of politics, pandemics, and prejudices. The main reason is when you express an opinion that a fellow Christian disagrees with, judgment becomes the default response. As stated in a past blog I wrote on Judgment versus Love, “Listen, we should always be different than the world, but different in a good, dare I say, godly way. Unbelievers should look at us and say things like ‘look how they care for people’; ‘look at the integrity and work ethic those Christians have’; and especially ‘look how those followers of Jesus love their God, love each other, and love people not like them’…. Jesus said in John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
This last scripture makes me wonder if the world looks at us and says “man, none of you Christians can even be civil to each other or get along with each other.” And you know something, in this year of 2020, they are absolutely correct.
I believe the absolute most important thing we believers should pledge to do starting right away is to get our love back on. If we don’t our whole house will crumble because love is the foundation and you know what happens when you have a faulty foundation.
I for one want to start seeing more posts on social media of amazing loving acts that people are doing, so much so that non believers take notice and comment how this is something they want to a part of. If we don’t then we won’t be proving to the world that love is the most important commandment. Instead our words and actions will prove hollow. God help us this not be so.