Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt 22:36-40)
Okay so this is a paramount section of Scripture. The Word of the Lord hangs on it.
Many churches borrow the world’s idea of ‘love’ and pursue loving others in that way, without seriously pursuing the First Commandment. That we love Him with all of our being is no small thing, it must be daily pursued or we will wane in it. But here the thing about it, there is a principle in the verse ‘we love Him because He first loved us’ (1 Joh 4:19). We grow our love for Him by feeding our hearts on His love.
I want to draw your attention to that last part of the 2nd commandment, “that we love ourselves.” Most have heard it many times, recently I heard it said of it, ‘It is presumption to think we can love others consistently in the way God commands, without connectedness to the Holy Spirit.’
“We love others as we love ourselves.” This implies there is something important about the way we feel about ourselves. When we come to Christ our natural brokenness as weak human beings is healed as we feed our hearts on the Holy Spirit’s revelation of our accepted-ness in the Trinity. Some churches lack this focus and new believers build their foundation on their standing within the church and on their own morality. Often when confronted with our own weakness we tend to answer our own insecurity with forms of pride.
The problem here is the prescribed way for new Christians to overcome their weakness hasn’t been studying and pursuing God for revelation of His love for them. That they would be ‘rooted and grounded in love,’ one of Paul’s primary prayers for the church in (Eph 3:16-19.) Our own study here is key, we can’t just live off of the revelation of a pastor or author, we can learn from them, but we are to make it part of our real relationship with God and dialoguing the Word through prayer.
Without building our Christian identity on our being accepted by God in our weak, yet sincere devotion, we become something different than what we were created for. And if we love ourselves based upon what we do and our standing in life, we will love others the same way, ‘performance based’!! Truly we love others as we love ourselves.
The bible is so rich with verses of the Father’s love for us and Jesus’s desire for us, the Holy Spirit wants to take these truths and feed our heart with them. It deeply changes us and we need regular, daily renewal in our hearts, so that when we love those around us, we are not just ‘another good person’, but rather, people walk away from the encounter feeling ministered to, and knowing we walk with God. here is a good place to find prayer conversation material.