When a follower of Jesus looks at God’s Word with a desire to show their love for Jesus by obeying His commands (John 14:15,23), they may get overwhelmed.
After all, there are more commands than we may care to count. There are commands regarding family relationships, church relationships, relationships with those in need and even relationships with our enemies; commands regarding our work ethic; commands regarding our attitudes, thoughts, and motivations; commands regarding activities we are to engage in and activities we are to avoid; etc.; etc.; etc.
Sometimes, it can even feel like the game I used to play called “Whac-A-Mole.” I stood with a mallet in my hand and waited for a plastic mole to stick his head up out of a hole on the game board. When he did, I tried to hit his head with a mallet. But, as soon as I did, he disappeared and another mole jumped up from another hole. I tried to hit him but he disappeared almost instantly as another mole popped up from another hole.
Well, I’m so glad that Jesus made it easy for us. In Matthew 22:36-40, a lawyer approached Jesus and tried to publically back Him into a corner. He wanted to ask Jesus a question to which there was no good answer thus discrediting Him. The lawyer asked: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). In other words, it was thought that whatever commandment Jesus gave, He would split the crowd because everyone had their own opinion regarding which commandment among the hundreds and hundreds of commands was the most important. Yet, Jesus said that loving God and loving others were the two most important and that “on these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, every command of Scripture is based upon the fact that we love God and others. It also means that if we focus on obeying these two commands, we end up obeying the others.
God moved the Apostle Paul to write the same thing: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:14).
It was said again in my Bible reading this morning in Romans 13:8-10 (ESV):
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
That makes the Christian life so much simpler to grasp (I didn’t say it would be easy; it’s simpler.). If I just focus on having a Jesus-kind-of-love for God and others, the other stuff will fall into place.