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The Real Love Commandment - Girlfriends in God - February 17, 2015

February 17, 2015
The Real Love Commandment
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

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 (Matthew 22:37-38, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I love being a grandmother. I love our grandchildren and work hard at finding any and every excuse to spend time with them. They keep me young … and are some of my greatest teachers.

I remember one particular visit with our son and daughter-in-law in North Carolina. Our twin grandchildren were three years old at the time. They seemed to do or say something new every day. Life was anything but dull as Jered and Jodi tried to keep up with Lelia and Jaydan who were learning to talk. They were also learning to pray.

As we sat down at the dinner table one night, I watched Lelia and Jaydan bow their heads and begin to sing the blessing. It was one of those life moments I will never forget. But there was more.

When the song was finished, Jered prayed, “Thank You, God, for our food and our home. Thank You for Mommy, Daddy, Lelia, Jaydan, and for Mimi.” I waited for the usual “amen” but instead, heard two sweet voices offer their own thanks. Lelia ended their prayer time by pointing to each person seated at the table and declaring, “I love Mommy and Daddy. I love JayJay. I love Mimi.” Then came the “amen” from daddy. However, Lelia was not done. With sparkling eyes and a smile that would melt any heart, she pointed to herself and said, “And I love me!”

And there you have the three-year-old translation of the two most important commandments Jesus ever gave.

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(Matthew 22:37-38, NIV).

Jesus is responding to a question He was asked by an interpreter of the law. I suspect the motive behind the question was far from pure, but Jesus responded with pure truth when He said that the love of God is the “first and greatest commandment.”

In other words, our love of God must not only be sincere but radical as well. If we love God, we will sell out to Him, and will naturally serve Him by loving and serving others. Too often, we stop right there and never get to the second most important commandment.

Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Yes, there is a self-love that is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins we can possibly commit. That kind of self-love must die.

But Jesus teaches that we are to love ourselves enough to take care of and be concerned with the welfare of our own bodies and souls.

Our body houses the Holy Spirit. Our soul is eternal. We are responsible for the care of both.

And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves. That kind of love often asks us to deny ourselves for the good of others.  

The reality is that people could care less how much we know, until they know how much we care. Our choice to obey these two commandments will mold our hearts and lives into something beautiful that honors and pleases God.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well(Psalm 139:13-14).

You can judge the value and the worth of a product by looking at the one who made it. You are no accident. You were created by God - for God.

And even if you were never wanted or planned by human heart and mind, you were planned and wanted by God. So, love your neighbor, and while you are at it, love yourself.

Let’s Pray

Father, I celebrate the fact that You created me. You planned my life and chose me to be Your daughter because You love me. Help me to see myself through Your eyes. Teach me to love myself the way You love me. And then help me to love others, God.

In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the following verses of Scripture and answer the questions listed below.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

How does this verse of Scripture emphasize the fact that you and I were created in response to God’s plan, not as an afterthought or an accident?

More from the Girlfriends

The love of God is beyond comprehension, but it is God’s gift to us all. Do you really believe that? Mary’s message, Love That Never Fails, will help you understand and accept the love God has for you. Check it out! And be sure to connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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