The Two Most Important Commandments – LOVE
By: Lara Velez
Love is mentioned well over 350 times in the Bible. I'm sure God must be trying to tell us something. We will start our study with Matthew 22:37-38; And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the most important and first commandment.
I am sure that we have all heard this verse many times in our Christian lives. But, do we really get it? How do we love God? Why should we love God? Let's explore How to love God today, and tomorrow we'll get into why.
How Do We Love Him?
It is very simply stated by Jesus in John 14:15, If you really love me, you will keep (obey) my commands. As simple as it sounds....it seems to be a very difficult task....or is it? Well, yes and no. If we study the Word, get it into our hearts and minds; it is easier to submit to the Holy Spirit...
However, when we fill our minds with the world, i.e.,
Soap Operas - which encourage adultery, lust, impurity, fornication, lies, deceit, and many other sinful desires.
I struggled with these for years. I didn't just watch one...not even just one channel. I would watch one channel and tape another. I was watching six different daytime dramas and several evening ones. I eventually cut back and convinced myself that was good enough. But, no, God wanted me to lay them all down. My mind had become so absorbed with this unrealistic, ungodly world. I didn't want to let go. Of course I eventually did...not without a fight though. The enemy was on full attack mode when I decided to submit to the Lord (obey His commands). I kid you not my TV would just turn on at the precise moment, my VCR would start taping when I didn't set it to, and the grocery store checkout...It was ugly. I didn't give up...and now I am FREE!
Entertainment Magazines - which are filled with gossip, wrong information, slander, hurtful situations in human lives, and really none of our business anyway. These were another stronghold in my life. My favorite was In Touch...or like my husband used to call it, "in touch with the devil." LOL. Let me tell you, I loved these things. I had to know who was cheating on whom, and what this one said about that one....I'm sure there are some of you who know exactly what I am talking about.
Guess what? God wanted these put down too. My flesh fought hard. Honestly, I still have to catch myself. Those grocery store checkout lines are filled with them...I try hard not to even look at them. I am happy to say that I no longer buy them...or even touch them.
Secular music - which is mostly provocative lyrics, self, and worldly principals.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that every non-Christian song is sinful. I'm saying be careful what goes in. It will come out. The Bible says in Galatians 6:7 that we reap what we sow. If we sow junk into our minds we will reap junk. If your searching through the stations looking for a good song to listen to...make sure it is good for your spirit not your flesh.
These examples are ones many Christian women face. You may be thinking I have gone too far...I don't know what I'm talking about. Yes, I do. I know because the Word tells me so.
In I John 2:15 it says, Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life or stability of earthly things - these do not come from the Father, but are from the world itself. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides forever.
Why Should We Love Him?
I'm sure this would seem like an obvious answer. Yet, I think it is important that we really understand the depth of the answer. Why do we or why should we love God? Well, there are more answers to this question then could be answered in a lifetime. But, I will give the best answer I can...
- HE IS INCOMPARABLE. THERE IS NONE LIKE HIM : II Samuel 7:22 says; Therefore You are great, O Lord God; for none is like You, nor is there any God besides You... No other religion has a God like ours. HE IS!
- HIS WAYS ARE PERFECT. HE IS PERFECT: Psalm 18:30 says; As for God, His way is perfect!
- HE IS OUR ROCK AND SHIELD: Psalm 18:30-31 says; ...He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him. For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the Rock save our God? It says it right there...if we will take refuge...He will shield us. How many of us actually take refuge in Him?
- HE IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS: This is covered in Genesis 1. Isaiah 40:12, 22 & 26 as well as countless other verses. What other God created the Universe?
- HE IS EVERLASTING: Habakkuk 3:6 says; He stood and measured the earth; He looked and shook the nations, and the eternal mountains were scattered and the perpetual hills bowed low. His ways are everlasting and His goings are of old.
- HE IS JUST, TRUE, MIGHTY AND SOVEREIGN: Revelation 15:3 says; ...Mighty and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God the Omnipotent! Just and true are Your ways, O Sovereign of the ages. Sing that for a while and you'll feel His presence all around you.
- HE IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG: When I am weak I know I can count on Him to be my Strength. Exodus 15:2 says; The Lord is my Strength and my Song....Keep reading that chapter alone for many reasons to love Him.
- HE LOVED US FIRST: I John 4:19 says; We love Him, because He first loved us.
- HE IS OMNIPOTENT (ALL-POWERFUL): Jeremiah 32:17 says; Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard for you.
- HE IS OMNIPRESENT (EVER-PRESENT): Read Psalm 139:7-12. He is always here...He is always there. You are never alone. What other "god" can say that?
- HE IS OMNISCIENCE (ALL-KNOWING): I John 3:20 says; ...For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows and understands everything, nothing is hidden from Him.
These aren’t even the tip of the iceberg...There is not enough time or words to tell all the reasons to love our God. He is The Great I Am, The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, Jehovah-jireh (my Provider), Jehovah-nissi (He reigns in victory), Jehovah-shalom (my Peace), God Almighty, Heavenly Father, Abba (Father), Holy, Loving, Kind, Gentle, Patient, Worthy, Good, Gracious.....
Do you see what I mean? I really could go on forever.
There is however, another area of "Why" that I would like to talk about...
Oh, yes, the Lord is Good. I can think of countless situations in my life where His goodness, (manifested in compassion, mercy, and forgiveness) brought me out of very dark places. You should take some time to meditate every day on the goodness He has shown to you in your life.
No time? Yes, there is. In the shower, driving here and there, as you lay in bed, blow drying your hair, putting make up on, cooking dinner, washing dishes, get up earlier, go to bed later, and right now. We say, “we don't have time." Yes, we do. We should always find time to think about the goodness of God and praise His Holy Name!
The Bible has many Scriptures on the Goodness of God. I have listed a few of my favorites.
Titus 3:4-6 ...when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior to man appeared, He saved us, not because of any righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy...
Psalm 31:19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You. Goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!
Acts 14:17 Yet He did not neglect to leave some witness of Himself, for He did you good and showed you kindness and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with nourishment and happiness.
Psalm 145:7-9 They shall pour forth like a fountain the fame of Your great and abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your rightness and justice. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works, the entirety of His creation.
Psalm 86:5 For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive our trespasses, letting them go completely and forever; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.
And let's not forget the Israelites in the Book of Exodus. They wandered around the desert for forty years...griping, complaining, unthankful, and unfaithful. Yet, our loving and merciful God still fed them every day, kept them safe, and even prevented their shoes from aging!
God is GOOD! We should never forget His goodness. If we would just reflect on His goodness in our lives and the Scriptures...we would have a whole lot more peace.
At the beginning of this study, I gave you our foundation Scripture Matthew 22:37-38. In it Jesus was telling a lawyer about two commandments. The first was what we have been discussing.
I would like to end this study with the second commandment that Jesus gave in Matthew 22:39; And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself.
I don't know about you...but...that is a very hard thing to do. It is not impossible though. We have to choose to Love.
Other Christians can be very difficult to love...for a variety of reasons that I am sure you are aware of. Yet in the book of John, Jesus tells us why it is important to love each other. John 13:34-35 says; I give you a new commandment; that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another [If you keep on showing love among yourselves].
Jesus doesn't just mean our brothers and sisters in the Lord...He means our enemies too. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said, ...Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. But wait...He goes even further in Luke 6:27-28; But I say to you who are listening now to me: Make it a practice to love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred. Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God's favor upon those who abuse you and misuse you.
WHEW...those are some pretty strong words. This is no easy task. Let's go deeper...
WHAT IS LOVE?
I'm sure you've heard it and/or read it...
I Corinthians 13:4-8 - Love endures long and is patient and kind; love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy, it is not boastful and does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited; it is not rude and does not act unbecomingly. Love (GOD'S LOVE IN US) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails...
There really isn't anything more I can add. God has explained "what" love is thoroughly. The next question would be...how?
HOW DO WE LOVE?
In part one of this study we learned that the Scriptures tell us that if we love God...we will keep His commandments. Well, this is one of His commandments. Obviously, we don't just snap our fingers and suddenly have the kind of love described in I Corinthians. It comes gradually over time as we study and learn His Word (His ways). The Word says that God is Love in I John 4:16. So, if we pour enough of God into our lives and spirits...we will automatically love more like He loves. It is what naturally happens as we submit our lives to Him and His will. We grow the "fruit" of love.
We cannot beat ourselves up when we fail. The enemy would love that. We must press on. Make it a point to read I Corinthians 13 as often as you can. Get it in you. And PRAY!
Note: All Scripture was taken from the Amplified Translation.
About the Author: Lara Velez is a Homeschooling Mother of two. She owns two websites. Moms of Faith - a community of Christian Moms who love the Lord, support each other, and pray for one another. Here you will find a Daily Devotional for Mothers, valuable resources and articles for Homeschoolers, WAHM's, New Moms, Pregnancy, and MUCH more! Visit today! http://www.momsoffaith.com
She also owns, The Recipe Finder - an Online cooking and recipe magazine, with hundreds of recipes, food articles, monthly newsletter, prize drawings, and more! Visit today. http://www.therecipefinder.com