It is clearly stated in different ways in the Bible that if you love God and follow His commandments to love and to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated, then we will be blessed and know God’s grace and love and support. If we don’t love God and follow His commands, we will live in fear and anger and paranoia and blame. We read this clearly in Deuteronomy 28, a chapter totally given over to the blessings that will accrue to us if we follow His laws, and the curses that are inevitable if we don’t. I am not in any way saying that there will be no challenges or pain for those who love God and follow His laws—just take the apostle Paul as one example, but that those who do will never be alone, unloved, unsupported.
We find the same theme again in the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus says that if you judge others, you will be judged in the same way that you did to others. [Matt 7:1-5] How we treat others clearly shows how much we love God and are willing to set aside our own judgments and opinions of others, our own sin and its consequences, because of our love of God. We have to be willing to give up so much of our human nature so that the Indwelling Spirit of God can rest fully in us and love and forgive us and pour out His love through us for others. This is what it means to not “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:2]
It is in our speech and our actions towards other people that we show how much we love God, by how true we are to His commands. We are to live in the truth about ourselves and our fellow human beings. We are to live with integrity, not just looking good as others might see us, like the Pharisees, but to have our outer speech and actions conform to our inner state of being. No longer are we to say something and feel and think the opposite of it in our hearts and minds. That is why it is so important how Jesus stated the first of the Two Great Commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength.” [Mark 12:30] That is to say, we are to love God in every part of our being, no hidden other views, no other loyalties, no personal biases or judgments, nothing in us that would detract from our love of God.
If we are not loving God with all of ourselves, then we are polluting our speech and actions with unspoken opinions and convictions and judgments that have nothing to do with loving God, ourselves or others. Now I know this is a hugely high standard that most of us have to slowly achieve and maybe there is no perfection in us until we die, but we are either moving towards that high standard or we are fooling ourselves that we can live with only a quarter or a half of ourselves committed to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments and still be His people.
There is no way that we can accomplish this love-in-action by ourselves, on our own. Only God knows what it is we need to give up to Him and in what order. We are way too close to the subject—ourselves—to be able to see clearly. Only by putting out lives totally in His hands and by following His lead can we love like God loves.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do my actions and what I say about loving God add up? Can I hear my own objections in my mind to what I am doing for other people? Judgments? Objections? Prejudices? Do I then lay them on the altar or feel justified in those opinions? Is it really my goal to love God with all of who I am? Or am I content to just believe in God?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are growing every day in their love for Him. May we follow God’s commands in all that we do. May we be God’s love in this world.
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