Saturday, January 18, 2020

Love God And Love Others: Summing Up God's Best For Us All

It's important to realize how important love really is to God, as evidenced by Jesus' words in the four gospel accounts in the New Testament and by writings throughout that collection of writings. Jesus said there were two "great" commandments which ought to shape and guide our lives.
Jesus was asked once by a lawyer which was the "greatest" commandment in the Law of Moses, and gave a very significant reply:
"He [Jesus] said to him [the lawyer], 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).
The problem is, we have too much ego, I think. It's very human to feel passionate about those beliefs and practices which speak strongly to us. And that's all right--until our egos take over and we decide our specific "pet" beliefs and practices are right and others are wrong.
Simply put: God has called us to love, not to argue about religious doctrine, not to evaluate others' beliefs and behavior and report them to God and to others. God has NOT made us his "Boy Scouts," placed here on earth to make sure others tow the line and measure up to our standards. God has, let me say it with emphasis, CALLED US TO LOVE--to love him and to love others.
Martin Luther, know to many as the Great Reformer of the Church, wrote about the simplicity of what God fundamentally calls all Christians to do: He referred to it as "the commandment of love," which he pointed out, is a short one--not even one of the noted Ten Commandments, yet encompassing all of those Ten Commandments.
My wife and I are members of a so-called "mainline" church and happily worship and work with wonderful people who love God in that church. One of the important things that drew us to that church and that keeps us committed as members there is the pastor's frequent explanation about the essence of this church: "We're a 'Two Commandment' church: We seek to love God and to love others."
No matter what church, i.e., local congregation or whatever you call the gathering of believers you're a part of, the place you belong to, that's sound, biblical advice. Let's show everyone today that we're "Two Commandment" people living and loving with the love of Christ in our hearts in the midst of this broken world.

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