Give Yourself to Others …

Archive for March 2008

Here’s a pretty familiar passage from Matthew 22:

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

There’s one questions that rose out of this passage that pre-occupied my thinking for sometime. Here’s the question: What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul and mind?

Loving your neighbor as yourself seems to be more understandable. We may not get it right all the time, but, almost intuitively, you and I have some idea of what that command means.

Let’s get real. Do we really think God needs us to pray to him? Does God need us to worship him? Does God need us to contemplate or meditate on him?

Although you may disagree — I don’t think we do those things for God, we do them because it is good for us to pray, worship, contemplate and meditate.

So, if I’m correct, how do we actually love God. One quick answer is to repeat the remainder of the verse which says to “love God and keep his commands”. But that verse is about how to remain in God’s love.

As I contemplated this question, I finally ran across 1 John 4.

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Later in the passage is a passage that repeats this same point in slightly different way, by pointing out that if we don’t love our brother, whom we can see; how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

So, I reached this conclusion — to demonstrate my love for God, I must demonstrate my love for you and for all the other folks I interact with each day of my life.

So, I got to John 13:34, where Jesus makes the only point which he described as a command: Love one another, as I have loved you.

That’s what it means to love God.

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