He was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”
In other words, What should be our main focus?
This was an intense debate at the time.
He answered this question by asserting what was--and still is--the main focus of our devotion to God: “The most important 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.” Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)
He addressed and made plain the two most important focuses and joined the two. The greatest is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. In the same breath, He says that you should love your neighbor as yourself.
We are created in the image of God. Everyone that you come into contact with is made in the image of God. It does not matter how that person treats you.
It follows closely that if you love God, you’ll love His people.
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35 (NLT)
Jesus also pointed out that this is how His disciples would be known. This radical love would be evidence of their allegiance. Not aligned to man, but to God. For God is our example of Love.
"For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14 (NLT)
Everything that you study in the Bible can be traced back to Love. Read it with rose-colored glasses. It’s the greatest love story of all time. And we are His church. His Bride. But everyone else we meet is also His. Each is a person made in His image, a neighbor you are called to love.
Even if they annoy you. Or spit in your face. Or wish death on you.
You are still called to love them if you seek to be Christian.
"Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." Philippians 2:2-4 (NLT)
It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about lifting up those around you.
A leader in my life one time made an analogy that we are a conduit. We connect people to the source.
We don’t have the power to truly change lives, but we can be used to join them to the Life Changer.
The following is from 1 Corinthians 13 (famously known as the Love Chapter).
Take a moment and process what this says.
"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
If you ever need to know if your actions are grounded in love that examples a Christian life, use this as a checklist.