When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'love your neighbor as yourself.' All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
With that in mind, why do we Christians love-if others? Love if they meet our standards. Love if they dress in a certain fashion. Love if they live in a certain area. Love if their life is a glorious path of pious dedication to our Lord (even though our lives rarely mirror that image). Love if…on and on and on. I certainly exhibit the love-if characteristic on many occasions.
We forget the filthy rags we were dressed in when our Father presented us to our Lord Jesus that first day. His eyes burned a whole through those rags and saw the beautiful soul within and all the possibilities for good we possessed. Yes, we were in great disarray.
Let us remember the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Is that not a splendid interpretation and extension of the first and second commandments? We must keep the first and second commandments foremost in our hearts and actions for Jesus told us those were the commandments dearest to our Father's heart. Along with those commands, we must use the interpretation by Paul as a how-to guide in carrying out those commands. Practice these commands every hour of every day for practice makes perfect. With that constant practice, these commands will become unthinking habit in our day to day lives.
Surely, we will become a glory to our Father for making these so simple and yet so mighty commands habit. Glory to our Father is the business we should be about as Christians.