Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love God and Love Others

"Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself'." (Matthew22:27-29)

Jesus' response when the Pharisees asked Him which was the greatest commandment in the Law.

We hear them quoted often today. We say them often. They familiar words to us. So familiar we often shorten them up in summary: Love God and love others.

True in those words as well. But do these five words really portray all that Jesus said in His answer? They get the basics down, but maybe not the full extent.

"Love . . ."

One word with a broad range of meaning in our English language. And a word we misuse and abuse in daily life.

In the Greek, the word is agape. The kind of love often spoke of in reference to how God loves us. A sacrificial love. A love that is a choice even when it costs us something.

 That's the kind of love Jesus is talking about here. A love we choose.

". . . the Lord your God . . ."

Jesus isn't talking about a distant, impersonal God we're supposed to love. He's talking about a God Who is personal. A God who gets involved in our lives and cares about the details.

". . . with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Heart . . . Emotions . . . Feelings. We're to love God with all of them.

Soul . . . The deepest part of you. The part that no one else sees, but God sees. Love Him with all of that.

Mind . . . Your thoughts. The things you think about each day. Love God with all of them.

"Love your neighbour . . ."

Jesus doesn't give us a description of specifically who our neighbour is here and I think that's for good reason. When it's not specifically defined, our neighbour could be anyone we come into contact with.

Some people are easy to love. Some people are difficult to love. Some people seem impossible to love and we would rather not even try. But, Jesus doesn't give us an out on any of these people. We're to love them all.

". . . as yourself."

After we love God with all of us, we're supposed to love others. And we're supposed to love them as we love ourselves.

Sometimes we love ourselves well. Sometimes we love ourselves too well. And sometimes we don't love ourselves very well at all. But, if we're supposed to love others as we love ourselves, we have to learn what it looks like to love ourselves.

So, how are you doing at loving God?
With all your heart?
With all your soul?
With all your mind?
How are you doing a loving your neighbour?

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