”And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Every believer needs to search their heart here. Is Jesus really first of all in your life – over all things, no matter what?
Think about it.
Is it the love of Christ – or are feelings and logic controlling your life? Have you developed a new habit of testing every belief, want, need, thing, thought, person, hobby, career, job, religion, law, rule, idea, creed, philosophy, teaching, input, feeling, desire, and decision up against the love of Christ?
Would you even die for Christ – as most of His original disciples ultimately did after the resurrection? Or would you run for your life as they did when confronted in the garden? Don’t be discouraged, we are all at different stages of growth, as the disciples were as well. Is this exercise humbling for you? You are certainly not alone.
But wait you might ask; is what I am teaching here, legalistic? No – Christian legalism is the wrong use of laws or rules. Many religions teach that it is necessary to follow the Bible’s rules and commandments in order to be saved and receive eternal life. That is legalism. I believe one is born again of the Spirit the moment they believe Jesus is God. Eternal life is God’s free gift and comes by His Grace alone, and as a result of believing in Jesus only. His grace alone is sufficient for us.
But God does demand one thing, and that is that we put Him first – in all things. “The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” That is specifically – ALL.
This is a decision of our will, rather than our feelings. God is requiring agape love here. This is not the type of warm loving feelings we have in our everyday human life. Humans love conditionally – “I love you if, and I love you because” When feelings change, so goes fickle human love. But with God; “Jesus loves us no matter what.” That’s Always and Forever.
Unfortunately most people naturally turn to Christ out of need and initially love Him the old “human point of view” way. But God wants those of us who are born of the Spirit to love and see people and things — as He loves, and sees people and things. Jesus wants His disciples to love Him in the same way that He loves us. And He died on the cross for us while we were clearly undeserving and unlovable.
Jesus’ love for us is absolute. His love for us never ends.
“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
So what are we to do?
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
For Christians, the human point of view is the primary stumbling block. This is where we get tripped up every time. Feelings and logic are the danger zone. This is where the forces of evil will place a trap in our path. And we must carefully measure the teachings of men, and the wisdom of the world — up against God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
So we must no longer love others, or view things in the old “human point of view” way. Our new way must be Jesus’ agape loving way – in all things.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage;
I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Grace and Peace to you my friends,
Bob West – Geezerdust©