Love God With All of Ourselves
Isn’t it interesting that we Christians argue over beliefs, over who has the right ones and who is going to heaven and who isn’t. We argue over faith vs. works. All we have to do is to turned to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments showing us exactly what He thought our journey in Him should be. The first Great Commandment says that we are to love God with all of ourselves, heart, soul, mind and strength. We are not to just believe in Him, but to love Him first of all. We are to trust Him and to devote our lives to Him. We are to surrender all that we are to His purposes and aims for us.
So we put God first above all else and then, we are to love our neighbor as [we love] ourselves. The Greek word love in these commands is agape, “in the NT[New Testament] usually the active love of God for His son and for His people, and the active love his people are to have for God, each other, and even enemies.” The active love that God has for us provides our every needs, showers love on us whether we are aware of it or not, directs and heals our lives. There is nothing passive about God’s love. And so there should be nothing passive about our love either. Love is not a feeling like “falling in love.” Love takes the whole of our being to express to God and to others. Love is the unique expression of God’s love to us poured out for others.
When we look at love without our worldly definition of love, we see the differences. In we world we may love our family members, our friends, spouses and children, but it is up to us whether that love is just a feeling or a full expression of our caring and regard for another. In God’s definition love means to serve Him by serving others, to help other people who are in need, to be in communion with others, to enjoy them as God enjoys us. It is giving of ourselves, forever giving what we have, who we are.
To love others as we love ourselves and as we love God means that we are not just doing things for others, giving money or food or care, but that we are valuing them, we are with them on their journey no matter where it takes them. We are committed to them as we are committed to God. There is no dutiful service which is resented beneath our conscious minds, no “parading around” so that others can see how wonderful and giving we are, no judgment of others lesser than me. There is a humility expressed in us about how we are all children of God and I am just one like everyone else with my challenges and deficiencies, as well as my gifts and talents.
Love is an expression of all that we are, not just a policy we trot out at times. Whoever God puts in our path is who we are to love. We may be called to serve a specific population. We may be called in many different ways. I think we are called mostly to help the very people who are suffering what we have suffered in our lives, once God has healed us of the trauma. Ex-alcoholic to alcoholic, or ex-drug user to current user, someone with a specific disease or condition to others in its throes. And so many more examples.
May we Christians stop arguing with each other, competing with each other for favor in what we think is God’s ways, but is really an expression of our own egos. May we become the one church of Jesus Christ as described by Paul where different people have different gifts and talents with which to serve God. I would suggest that even different interpretations of the Bible. Where there is no judgment, only love and mercy. May we love everyone we meet with the love that God showers on us every day, because we have come to know the length and breadth and depth of that love.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I think that my beliefs are better than another person’s or another denomination of the church? Why do I argue about beliefs if we all believe in Jesus Christ? What is in it for me? Do I think that I am better than other people? Why do I need to? Would I be willing to join in with all other Christians in the one church of Jesus Christ? Would I then be able to see all other people in this world as children of God, loved by Him, forgiven by Him? Would I then follow God’s lead and love everyone as we are all loved by God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who belong to the one church of Jesus Christ, each with different callings, each with different gifts, but ready to express all that we are in Christ’s name. May we love one another. May we all live in the kingdom of God.
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 Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28
 Goodrich & Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Conordance, 2nd Edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Strong’s word #27, p. 1523
 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
 1 Corinthians 13:1-13