It’s just so simple. Love God with all you’ve got, and love others like yourself. Well, that was easy. Please go back to your normal routine, and enjoy the picture of the Nevada desert. Hahaha! I wish just reading those words made loving God and loving others effortless.
What’s the greatest commandment according to Jesus?
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39, NIV
I think about these verses every day. For me, it all boils down to this. The greatest commandment is the umbrella under which all other commandments fall. Love God with all I’ve got and love my neighbors, which is my family and every person, the same way I love myself.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” does not mean to love myself first, before I can love others. It just means in the same way we care for ourselves and our burdens, we show that same level of care and concern for others. Our neighbor is everyone and anyone. Your family, friends, and actual neighbors are your “neighbors”. We don’t get to pick and choose who we love. Though we try, we are called to something different.
Luke 10:30-37 tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Read this story for yourself. It gives a great example of how to be a good neighbor, and to show real love.
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10-36-37, NIV
We are to love all people. Every single person was made in the image of God.
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27, NIV
We need to ask God to help us see people the way He does. If I look at people with my own judgements and opinions then I’m not going to love them very well. If I look at others according to God’s view and that He made them, I can see their hearts much easier.
Loving others is really hard. Loving difficult people is nearly impossible. We don’t have to be best friends with everyone, or hang out with everyone, but we are told to love. We cannot love based on our own feelings or perceptions. Our love for others is based on the love Jesus has placed in our hearts. I cannot properly show love without God. He is love.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8, NIV
Jesus loved me first before I ever knew Him or loved Him.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19, NIV
Love is so much bigger than like. The love Jesus gives us is beyond anything we will experience from another person. Jesus gave His life for us because He loves us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8, NIV
How do we love God with every part of us? It means we don’t hold anything back from God. Loving God is a natural response from a genuine relationship with Him. The more you know God, the more you will love Him. He gave us full access to Him because of Jesus.
To love God with all my heart, soul, and mind means I put Him first in my life. I give Him everything. I praise Him. Read His word. Pray. Ask Him to fill my mind with His thoughts. It is a daily choice to love God with every part of me. Though I will never love Him perfectly, I will make a choice to let my heart be loyal to Him first and foremost.
The Spurgeon Study Bible says:
“‘With all your heart’ means intensely. ‘With all your soul’ means sincerely, most lovingly. ‘And with all your strength’ means with all our energy, with every faculty, with every possibility of our nature.”
The greatest commandment to love God with every ounce of me and to love people is impossible. If I rely on myself to accomplish these acts, then it’s a failure every time. When I rely on Jesus, I can love the way He loves.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jon 15:5, NIV
Loving God and loving everybody is how we shine our lights in this dark world. We have the awesome responsibility to be Jesus’ hands and feet to every person we encounter. We were never meant to do it in our own ability. Otherwise we’d never need Jesus. We need Jesus every moment, of every hour, of every day.
Let’s love our awesome God with everything we’ve got. Let’s love His kids well.
Love you all,
Thank you for your perfect love. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus to save us. Help us God, to love you and love others greatly. We cannot properly love people without You. Show us others, the way you see them. Let us see hearts and souls. Help us to see the hurting, lost, and broken. Use us, imperfect vessels, to love people. Thank you for the privilege we get to show Your love. We praise you!