Did you know that Valentine’s Day is coming soon? If you’ve been the store recently there is a good chance you are already clued in to that fact. this is the month the world seems to put great emphasis on love and despite the commercialism and often superficial depictions of love, I think it’s pretty nice to shine a little light on the importance of love.
Something else you probably already have some knowledge on is the fact that God thinks love is pretty important, in fact God is love. (1 John 4:8) Recently I was reading in Mark 12 and this portion of scripture just jumped out at me for a whatever reason. Let’s look at it together.
Mark 12:28-31 (NLT) One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Jesus gives two commandments. The first is pretty straightforward, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. That is a pretty passionate and all consuming view of love. Most valentine’s cards don’t have a love a deep and lasting as that. This is how we are to love God, so completely that we have literally spent all our strength on loving Him. That our thoughts revolve around Him completely. We should be so devoted to Him, heart and soul that no one in our life should ever have to questions who is most important in our lives. It’s God.
Sadly, we don’t display this kind of love. Too often, co-workers and class mates don’t even know we are Christians. Why? Because we haven’t said anything about God? Why are we so reluctant to speak openly about our relationship with Jesus? I firmly believe that we will always talk about the things most important to us. If you never feel the inclination to talk about Jesus with the people around you, then it’s time to evaluate how important God truly is. We must love Him completely!
The second command Jesus gave is likely also familiar to you. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The part the really stuck out to me is the words right before that indicating that this second commandment was as equally important as the first.
Jesus is saying that loving people, is just as important as loving God. This is for me a little hard to swallow, but that doesn’t make it any less true. God is full of love, for everyone and I am convinced that as we grow to become more likely Jesus we will naturally become more inclined to love all people.
We are quick to take time out of our lives to do something special for ourselves, but are we as quick to meet a need in our neighbor’s life? Do we really love them as we love ourselves?
I am reminded of 1 John4:20 which states, If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
I’m always amazed at how strong the language of the Bible can be. We all desire to love God, but when we find in our hearts a struggle to love our fellow believers, neighbors and people in need reveal within ourselves that we still have some work to do.
Let’s purpose in our hearts today to work hard at loving other people. Let us demonstrate the love God has for all people, by loving them ourselves.