We are coming to the end of 2016. Many consider this a good time to give themselves goals or new year resolutions. We know the ones: to eat less chocolate, go to the gym, get fit … But how about trying this resolution for 2017 … to love GOD with all your heart, soul and mind.
I have got to Matthew 22 in the blog. Yet again the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus with questions. They were trying to undermine his teaching. This time, they ask what is the greatest commandment.
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. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus’ reply is that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This commandment directly covers the first three of the Ten Commandments. But if you follow this commandment, all the other seven are covered too. If you love GOD in this way, you will love others in the way He loves them.
To love with all of you, means there would be no room for things like hatred, envy or pride. To love GOD with all your heart – centre of your emotions, all your soul – centre of who you are and all your mind – centre of intellect, covers every part of a human.
This is in itself a challenge. It is easy and ‘normal’ to hold back. This protects us from being rejected and hurt. It stops us from being authentic and real – we can very easily portray ourselves as perfectly happy and successful. But GOD wants our all. He wants us to be open and honest with Him. He knows the real you! He is the perfect example of loving openly, His love for us is not withheld or half-hearted. It is time to let GOD captivate you, to let Him love you and for you to respond to Him.
There is another challenge in these few verses. The second commandment is to love others as yourself. Firstly, how good are you at loving others? Loving others is easier when they are in agreement with you or are similar to you, of course, loving when there is conflict is much harder. Secondly, how well do you love yourself? If you treat yourself badly, you invite others to do the same whereas, if you love yourself, others will reflect that too. If you are able to see your mistakes, yet know the love of GOD, you will be able to do the same for others. If you really know the love that GOD has for you, it will overflow in love for others.
What does loving others look like? Perhaps some of these things might help …
Offer the best to someone else, commit to praying when you said you would, kind words, give a gift (flowers, chocolate, time), smiling, being patient, encouraging …
There is a passage of scripture that is often read out at weddings about love. This passage is actually talking about and describing GOD and how He loves. It is how He demonstrates His love for us and is therefore, how we should love Him, others and ourselves.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Perhaps I could add to the new year challenge … Love GOD with all your heart, soul and mind and to love others as yourself.
Having posted this blog, I have heard some very sad news of a remarkable woman passing. She was someone who demonstrated how to love GOD with all her heart, mind and soul no matter what the world threw at her. She was such a warm lady who loved others so well with her time, resources and words. Her example has impacted many lives, including my own. I dedicate this post to her precious memory. xxx