“If I speak all the languages of earth with human eloquence but don’t love others, I am nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate or the noise of a clanging gong or cymbal.”
“If I have the gift of prophecy, speak God’s word with power and understand all of His secret plans, possessing all knowledge and revealing all His mysteries, making them known to others as plain as day, and if I have such faith that I could say to a mountain “move”, and it does yet I don’t love others, I am nothing.”
“If I give everything I have to the poor and even if I go to the stake to be burned as a martyr but don’t love others, I would have gotten nowhere. No matter what I say, what I believe, or what I do, without love I am nothing.”
What is love?
“Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud or rude. It does not dishonor others and it is not self-seeking, caring for self more than others. Love is not easily angered, does not demand it’s own way and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil injustices but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, never loses hope, and always perseveres, enduring through every circumstance. Love trusts God always, always looks for the best and never looks back but keeps on going until the end. Love never dies.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Jesus was asked by the believers what His number one commandment was (in other words, what is the main ‘rule’ for us to follow). Without even pausing, He replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) I wonder if the early believers were a bit like “Yeah Jesus, of course, we get that – that’s a bit of an obvious answer”. So they asked Him a second question. “Ok, so what’s the next commandment?” And immediately He replied: “That’s simple, the second commandment is just like the first one: you are to love other people as you love yourselves.” (Matthew 22:39)
So the first commandment is love.
And the the second commandment is love too.
Ever wonder what the third commandment would have been?
I think it was probably love.
“The Kingdom of God is actually a Kingdom of love. The trinity of God is a relationship of love. Father God is love; the Son is His beloved; and the Spirit is the bond of love between them.” (John Arnott)
Love God. Love others. Love yourself.
Sounds so simple. It doesn’t seem like it’s rocket science and yet it’s obviously such a hard concept to grasp, even for mature Christians. Just have a look at our diaries. I know how guilty I have been getting caught up in going to every service at church and serving God and then attending mid-week meetings to organise the next event. In the past I’ve gotten so caught up in working for God (which, don’t get me wrong, is still a good thing to do) that if I looked in the mirror I’d see Martha staring back at me instead of Mary. [Perhaps that’s why I got so off track in my faith these past three years – just a thought.]
This recent journey of my faith has caused me to stop and think and reconnect with my first love. In recent months as I have been reminded of His love for me, He has become a safe place for me to run to. He has allowed me to dwell in the secret place of His heart, He has hidden me safely under the shadow of His powerful presence. He has once more become my shepherd. He has caused me to remember that I need to be firmly established in His love in order to be able to comprehend how much He loves me.
Because without love I am nothing.
Therefore, loving God has become about allowing myself to have a total heart and soul connection with Him. I have given Him my whole heart and I am trying to love Him supremely, fixing my affections on Him and loving Him more than I love anyone or anything else. I am trying to love Him with all my soul – willingly giving up my life to Him and devoting myself to His service, living for Him and willingly doing whatever He asks me to do. I am trying to love Him with all my mind, submitting my thoughts and intellect and intelligence to His will. I am trying to love Him more than I love the decisions and choices that I make for myself.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life of love, constantly receiving the love of my heavenly Father, and in return, loving Him and others as I love myself. So when I love God, with this sort of heart and soul connection that He is asking for, my emotions will be fully engaged and I will have such deep, tender feeling of affection towards Him that my ability to love Him, to love others and to love myself will be transformed.
It is important to trust steadily in God.
It is important to hope unswervingly in God.
But most important is to love extravagantly because the best of the three is love.