34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “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.”
What we learned in the devotion on “our first love devotion” was that there are three aspects of our being, Heart, Soul, Mind but there are also three small but key words that we need to observe:
ALL – Love God with all means that we are not to hold back in any area of life. It is easy to give all in the area that we enjoy or reflects our personality, but are you giving All in All areas of your being?
YOUR – We are not all the same and we need to be careful comparing experiences, knowledge, service or even our holy living it can lead to arrogance or insecurity. Don’t base and compare your love of God solely on what others are saying and what they are or are not doing. This is your heart, your soul and your mind. What does “your” relationship of love with God look like?
AND – Again don’t limit love to one area, seek a balance in your relationship with God as you walk with Him.
Now in the same breath as we are told to love God, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The first command to love along with the second direct us who to love and remind us that love’s direction is outward. Jesus also shows us that loving others is in the same realm of activity as loving God. He tied the two together, revealing that we cannot have one without the other. We’re not meant to just go off and love God to the exclusion of people, but neither are we to love people to the exclusion of God and today, sadly, we see both extremes. Yet loving God comes first because we will never properly love people until we learn to love God. People can love other people but not as much as when they first love God for He is the author of true love. In order to be in touch with others we must be in touch with God. This second command is also built on the foundation that it is about relationships not rules, so what is your life reflecting, love or legalism, relationship or rules? The world says that all’s well that ends well, but the Word teaches us that it’s also about how we start not just end. We also need to have an inclusive love because yesterday, today and tomorrow all impact our love relationships. Our yesterdays and our past decisions about people and how we loved them determine who and what we become in life. Our today counts now and how we treat people today builds on the past but it also prepares us for the future. Our tomorrow incorporates our future plans about people and planning how and who we will love in the future is what drives our present with power and energy. What Jesus teaches us is that Love is not a suggestion it is a choice made at the request of a loving God and since God has commanded it we can do it. Jesus didn’t just know about God’s commands, He made a choice to obey and live them out and when we follow His example to love others we become like Jesus. So why does God command us to love? Because Love is a way of life that we intrinsically need, it impacts the health of our mind, body and soul. Our world teaches us many wrong attitudes and choices about love like:
- Only love those who love you, this leads to an ego fulfillment.
- Only love those who are worthy, this leads to exploitation.
- Only love those who need you, this leads to co-dependent relationships.
We all want to receive love in this life, we even demand it but have you stopped and made the choice to love others or are you just going to demand? We are not just called to love others but it is in the how we are to love them that is revealing. We are to love others in the way we love ourselves and in a self-centered society surely we should know what it looks like to love self. We have become experts in self-love but love is not getting instead it is giving to a significant-other. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for another” (John 15:13). Self-love sees self as significant and if we are to love others with a sincere love we must see others as significant. Lust has its focus in getting, it is the essence of self-love where true love is focused on giving. So how do we make today count when it comes to God’s command to love? We must DAM up today.
Don’t – The first part of the DAM deals with the don’ts. First we must stop demanding and putting ourselves first, instead we need to putting others first. We must get rid of our emotional luggage which hinders our love, such as bitterness, grudges and revenge.
Add – This second part is what we add to replace what has been taken away. Life is not just about the don’ts but also the do’s, it’s not just about the removal but the replacing. Add blessing to others by adding value to their life with the use of your time and words. Do you need to make time for someone today? Is there someone that you need to express appreciation for or compliment?
More- This third part says that adding is not enough there needs to be more. What unexpected thing can you gift to those around you? Will you choose to give more by managing your attitudes and actions toward others? Will you choose to be friendly to dig down and give over and above?
The truth is that our loving relationships with others are the collection of choices made and tied together by time. Will you choose to obey the command to love others and who will you choose to love today?