Love God, Love Others

Day 1 of 3 • This day’s reading

Devotional

What God Commands, God Enables. 


In the ‘money’ verses ( Matthew 22:37-38 NIV) - Jesus replied: “'Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.”


There are 613 laws in the Old Testament. And people who are committed to religion are concerned that they are covering as many of them as possible. So, it’s not surprising that some are looking to leverage their legalism, to position themselves strategically by making sure they cover the most important commandments. They ask Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” 


And Jesus comes back to them with two! But He equates them. Love God full out. And love others benevolently. 


Now, there are a few crucial bits for us in this context. Here goes:


It starts like this: love God full out. That sounds impossible (‘but what is impossible with people is possible with God!’). And in some ways it epitomizes the challenge of following God. This is as far from religion as you can shake a stick at. Here is a command that is impossible. There is no way that you can obey that. And, of course, this means that you’re disobeying God. And that means you will be judged by God for your disobedience.  


The bottom line on this one is that if this is the paradigm, then God is mean-spirited. Yes, you read that accurately. What kind of God commands you to obey the impossible and then punishes your disobedience? Mean-spirited.


But we know that God is good (there are lots of Bible reading series here that you can check out). What’s the application here? Because God is good, what God commands, God enables. Did you get that? 


What God commands, God enables. 


So, when He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, then He enables us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind. ‘He enables’. How?


Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit can neutralize our natural inclination to act selfishly and fill us so that our default actions and reactions are to do what is pleasing to God. Among other things? Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind. 


But how can you tell that someone loves God full out like this? Simple. They love their neighbor like themselves. How we love our neighbor manifests the love that we have for God. 


The take-away today? Get filled with Holy Spirit so that we can love God full out and then we’ll love others like ourselves, (super)naturally.