The greatest commandments. How to love effectively? Matthew 22:34-40 – 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The greatest commandments. How to love effectively? What is love? 1John 4:16 – “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” In the world we are living in now, it is obvious that so many have fallen away from the real meaning of love. Some would only give love if they are love back as well. But what if the person you love doesn’t love you back? What would you do? So many have lost their joy living in this world, due to a lack of real love. When we do something wrong or when someone does wrong it’s easy to just turn away from God and people. And here is a sad reality; so many people have turned away from loving God. We have a society that most people only love and think of themselves. They don’t care about God or others. So what should we do? Well, I have good news! God in His mercy and grace has given us the greatest commandment of all: to love the Lord our God, and to 2) love our neighbors as ourselves. I will be sharing with you how to love effectively that will honor God and bring people to Christ.
Live by it
What God asks of all those who believe in Christ and receive His salvation is a devoted love. In the book of Deuteronomy 6:5 says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”. God seeks fellowship with His people and gives them this one indispensable command that will attach them to Himself. By responding to His love with love, gratitude and loyalty, we will come to know and enjoy Him in a covenant relationship (like and a father and son or daughter). When we live by the love that God commanded us to have by putting Him first above everything in our lives, then we are able to show others how to love God.
When we truly love God, we will obey His commandments. True obedience to God is possible only when it springs from faith in and love for God. And when we truly understand this truth, we don’t just stop with God; we offer this love to others as well. How do we offer it? We tell others about the ultimate love of God for all through His Son the Lord Jesus. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Our love for God must be wholehearted and dominating love, a love inspired by His love for us whereby He gave His Son for our sake.
We should never take God’s love for granted! It is the only thing that we will carry with us and that God will also honor when we finally see Him face to face. God’s love in us will carry us through the challenges from this life. Vice versa when we truly love God, we will live a harmonious life with others. In the book of 1Corinthians 13:13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” God values love more than anything in this world, because that is His nature and He wants us to love the way Christ loves us. Anyone can be the richest person in the world but if they don’t have love for God and others, they are the poorest of all! It is clear from this chapter that God exalts Christ like character more than ministry, faith or the possession of spiritual gifts.
God values and emphasizes character that acts in love, patience, kindness, unselfishness, hatred for evil and love for the truth, honesty, and endurance in righteousness much more than faith to move mountains or to perform great achievements in the church. The greatest in God’s kingdom will be those who are great in inward godliness and who demonstrate genuine love for God and people, not necessarily those who are greatest in outward accomplishments. God’s love poured out within the believer’s heart through the Holy Spirit is always greater than faith, hope or anything else. This love involves the affection of our heart whereby God is so valued and esteemed that we long for His friendship, love Him with our obedience, and seek His honor and glory in the earth. If we truly love God, we will not shrink back from public identification with Him even to the point of suffering for His name and righteousness’ sake.
Our love for God includes: a) a personal attachment of allegiance and loyalty to Him. b) Heartfelt devotions expressed in our dedication to His righteous standards in the midst of a God rejecting world. c) A desire for His presence and fellowship like that of a lovesick bride longing for the companionship of her bridegroom. These are just some of the ways we can express our love to God. We can read His Word, pray, worship Him in His holiness. We are also to express our love for our neighbors and all those around us even our enemies. Galatians 6:10 says “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” God would love for us to grow in love for Him and others. 1Thessalonians 3:12 says “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.” The love of believers for our Christian brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and our enemies must be subordinated to, and controlled and directed by our loving affection for and devotion to God. Love for God is the “first and greatest commandment”. Therefore, in our practice of love for all people, we must never compromise the supremacy of our love for God and the righteous standards of His Word.
There is friend who said these words before that I will never forget. He said
“We don’t have to like what people do but we ought to love them anyway.”
And I will add this, to love all is to tell them the love of God for their lives and how He demonstrated it for us through the sacrificial death of His Son the Lord Jesus. We should care enough to point out to them the way to the Father if the don’t know already. We should not be quiet and complacent of what we know for God’s Word. People are dying everyday and if we stay quiet every chance that God put in front of us to tell others about His love, then we have neglected God’s greatest commandments. Loving God is to tell others of His great love and the salvation He offers to all of us.