“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Read this verse over and over. What is Jesus whispering to you?
The whisper I hear this morning is “there is nothing more important than love.” Does your life reflect that?
Ouch, that questions hits me right between the eyes. I can’t say that my life always reflects love. Our verse comes from a conversation between Jesus and a teacher of the law. The teach asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asked him what was in the law. How do you read it? The teacher said our verse. Jesus said you have answered wisely. Do this and you will live. But the teacher wasn’t satisfied. He knew he wasn’t keeping this law, so he was looking for justification. He asked Jesus who is my neighbor? Jesus then tells the story of the good Samaritan.
The point of the story is everyone you meet is your neighbor. Like the teacher of the law, I am left convicted. I can’t say I have been a good neighbor to everyone. I can’t say that I have loved the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind. So where does that leave us?
The key to all the talk of keeping the law is we can’t, and we don’t have to keep it perfectly because Jesus has fulfilled the law for us. He we go again. I just talked about this yesterday. Instead of focusing on judgement, lets focus on love and what that looks like.
We all know the passages in Corinthians about love but what does it look like in our life? First off, we need a relationship with God because without it we can’t love. God is love. If we have a relationship with God, then we will know what love is. The love we are talking about is a sacrificial love. So loving God with everything means God is in the center of everything. We love Him so much that we include Him in everything. We live for God. That is what it means to love Him with our heart, mind, strength and soul.
Loving our neighbor as ourselves is a little trickier. Some of us don’t love ourselves very well. Again, that is why the first part is so vital. If you love God, then you will accept His grace and forgiveness which will allow you to love yourself. The reality is if you don’t love yourself you can’t love others. If you live in constant gilt how can you love others? You will only see people judging you which will make you not like them. You will respond to them with anger. We will get in a competition with their pride because we feel the need to be better than them just to show them that their judgement is wrong. It is a constant miserable game we play.
Loving your neighbor means seeing them through the eyes of Jesus. It is understanding that they need love. That Jesus loves them therefore we should love them. It is realizing that they are no worse or better than we are. It means putting others first. It means seeing them, looking them in the eyes to let them know you see them. That they are worth your time. That they are worth your love. It is shining the light of Jesus in the darkness so that they can see Him. The only way to do this is to accept the love and forgiveness of God. If we do this, then His love will flow naturally through us. When God is in the middle, everything falls into place.