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.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated Valentine’s Day. Many celebrated with loved ones by sharing gifts, flowers, food, and enjoying the time together. Intentional focus on love and special moments seems to take a backseat throughout the rest of the year.
Have you noticed that we often take those that are most important to us for granted? That we fail to tell and show them how much we truly love them? It’s not intentional; it just happens, right?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love for us: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
Chapter 13 ends with verse 13: “And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Today’s lesson is centered on loving God and loving others. Simple, right? Jesus modeled it during His time on earth. He was a humble servant and, above all else, He loved His Heavenly Father and obeyed what He asked him to do (Philippians 2:1-11). As Christ followers, we are to imitate Christ’s humility. This is only possible when we surrender ourselves completely to God and are continuously filled and controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in every Christ follower.
Do you regularly seek God first in all things and ask for wisdom and understanding in how to deal with difficult people in your life? Do you consider the needs of others more important than your own? That may be the desire of your heart, but your flesh takes control and leads to actions that are contrary to how the Bible defines love. Denying self and taking up our cross daily is not easy. Jesus did not promise His followers it would be easy.
Thought of the day: Over the course of the next week, make a commitment to God to seek Him first in all things and to put others’ needs ahead of yours. At the end of the week, pause and reflect on how your intentional acts of loving God and loving others made a difference in your life. Repeat the next week, and the next week.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I do not always love You with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and I do not love my neighbor as I love myself. Father, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, teach and guide me in understanding what it means to live this life in obedience to Your commandments. In Jesus’ name and for his glory I pray. Amen.