“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:36–39.
If you have been a Christian for any time, then you have heard that the entire law in the Bible can be summed up in these two commands: love God and love others. If you want to grow deeper with God, get on mission with Jesus. Do more than just go to Bible studies, read books, or listen to podcasts. Apply what you’re learning about God by loving Him and loving other people.
The application is important: As we begin loving others, we are also learning just how much God loves us. If we are able to forgive and give grace to people who are hard to love, then just how deep is God’s love for us? It is easier to love others when we realize the endless, astonishing love of Christ. Ephesians 3:18–19 (MSG) says, “ My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”
The more we begin to love, the more we begin to change from within. All of a sudden, we don’t find it as hard to love others anymore, and we get a better picture of what it means to love God—and how deeply He loves us! When we truly, actively begin loving others, we also learn how to love God better.
A struggle for many people is that they think they can’t love others until their heart motive is “right.” So they spend a lot of time checking their heart, asking God to make them more loving. There are so many creative ways to love others, and you don’t have to wait. Venture out in faith and loving feelings will follow the loving actions.
Let’s make it our prayer today to ask God to help us actively love others – to actively walk across the street to help our neighbors, to actively cook a warm meal for a friend in need, or actively visit a nearby nursing home to love on the elderly. Let us ask Him to lead us to places where He wants us to shine His light and ask Him for the courage and strength to share His love with all who surround us in our daily lives.
- What does it mean to you to reflect God’s love to others? What are some practical ways for you to give others a taste of what the love of God is like?
- Is loving others loving as God loves? Is this even practical?