Looking at the Bible with all of its “dos” and don’ts” can be overwhelming.
Jesus-followers should certainly spend much time in God’s Word familiarizing ourselves with its content so that we can live according to its teachings. But, it would sure help if there was a command or two that we could focus on, commands that are much more important than any of the others.
Fortunately, Jesus gave us that information. He has told us that there are two commands that are much more important than any of the others. We would do well to obey them.
What are they?
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.'”
Love God and love others.
That’s simple … but it’s not necessarily easy.
The love we are to have for God is not to be something that is apathetic, half-hearted. It is to be all-consuming. We are to love Him “with all (our) heart, all (our) soul, all (our) mind, and all (our) strength.” That means that we find delight in His presence. We want to grow in our understanding of who He is. We find joy in following, obeying, and even sacrificing for Him.
The love we are to have for others is to be the kind of “love” we have for ourselves. The “love” we have for ourselves causes us, without thinking twice, to meet our needs. Our life is essentially spent taking care of ourselves. And it is in this vein of thought that we understand how we are to love others, by thinking of them just as we would think of ourselves. If they need help, we step in to offer our assistance. If they have a need and we have the ability to meet that need, we do it. If it requires sacrifice on our part and we believe the Lord is leading us to meet that need, we do it.
Friend, how much better would the culture of the churches across our land be if we adhered to these two commands? Ask the Lord to enable you to grow in your love for Him and others.