This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Love God Love People (LISTEN HERE)
When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment, he answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, 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 neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
But what does that actually mean?
As Jesus summarized “all the Law and Prophets” he concisely compiled all the directions he gave to his people with two directives…Love God…Love people.
In this week’s devotions, we will reflect on the 10 Commandments as they help to expand what it means to love God and love people.
The first and greatest command is to love God…
God told Moses (the first of the 10 commandments), “You shall have no other gods.”
What Jesus and what God told Moses defines for us is that while there are many things and entities called “god” there is only one true God.
Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God.”
What is so unique about the God we are invited to love with all our being is that he is the only God who loves us back…and in fact loved us first before we could love him first.
Jesus directs our love to “the Lord.”
Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
Consider that anything that captures the loyalty and priority of our heart, mind and soul is rightly termed “a god.”
What is that for you? What could that be for you?
Money? Reputation? Career? Acceptance? Athletics? Appearance?
Consider…did any of those things love you first? Do any of those things love you back?
Perhaps this is a litmus test to dismiss as unimportant those things that have not loved us first or love us back.
God, the Lord, does both. He loved us before we could ever love him. He continues to love us.
…because he is the Lord YOUR God.
What we need reminding of is that the Lord is the one who first loved us. He is the one that establishes a relationship with us. He is the one that calls us his son or daughter. He is the one who enables us to call him “Father.”
Does your “god” have a relationship with you? Perhaps this is another litmus test to the false gods in our lives. If what is most important to us is unable or unwilling to have a relationship with us, it’s a false god. It may seem like it cares for us. It may seem like it will always be there for us. But a false god will always let us down because it doesn’t or will stop caring to have a relationship with you.
The Lord YOUR God never stops desiring to have a relationship with you.
Is it hard to love someone whom you know loves you first and loves you unconditionally?
Love engenders love.
We love because HE first loved us.
It is the greatest command because it commands all of our being. But when we realize we are simply responding to the love that the LORD our God has shown to us, it is a command the love of the Lord our God enables us to keep.
Apply: What false gods have you realized have been or are in your life? Do they love you or just are the object of your love? Do they have a relationship with you or just you with them?
Prayer: Forgive us Lord for casting the loyalty of our heart, mind and soul to things that neither love us or desire to have a relationship with us. Thank you for your consistent and constant love. May your love for me always empower me to love you first! AMEN.