Today in church, our guest speaker shared from Matthew 22:36-40.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
This is a passage I have come back to again and again over the last few years. In fact, I share it quite frequently from the pulpit myself. I have found this passage to be convicting and challenging on one hand yet very encouraging as well.
It is convicting because Jesus lists these 2 commandments as the ones that ALL the Law and Prophets hang on. He could have listed anything in response to the question. The first one makes sense to me. Love the Lord with every part of your being! I find that to be very convicting. Do I love the Lord with all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my mind? I would love to say YES to that. Sadly, it is not always true. I know there are times I put other things before the Lord. In that I am convicted.
It is challenging because the second commandment he lists is to love our neighbors...as we do ourselves! Honestly, I am often challenged by that. I want to ask who my neighbor is but I already know the answer to that. It is everyone I meet from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed! It includes my family, my friends, my co-workers and my enemies. I find loving my enemies to be the challenging part. I remember one of our special needs volunteers putting it plainly to me once. He said if God calls us to love our enemies, that means loving the terrorists as well. God does not make distinctions when He calls us to love!
It is encouraging because as Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." I am guilty of not always loving others as I should. There are times I need to repent when I fail to apply Matthew 22:36-40 to my life. God is faithful and forgiving, calling me to something more, something better.
As the speaker this morning shared, as we love God more it becomes easier to love our neighbor and as we do so, it impacts those around us. I would say our lives are changed as we embrace that loving feeling!