1. Christ and LOVE
Matthew 22:37-40 “And Jesus replied to 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 greatest commandment.”
The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].”
“The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
We first need to know how God defines “love.” The Hebrew word is ahab and means to have affection for, desire, delight in, or be fond of. It implies an ardent inclination of the mind and a tenderness of affection and denotes a strong emotional attachment for and a desire to be in the presence of the object of love.
The Greek word is agapaō, to have a preference for, or to wish well; to regard the welfare of. It is to take pleasure in; to prize it above other things; to be unwilling to abandon it or do without it; to welcome with desire; to long for.
The English version diminishes the meaning of love when we view it as simply an emotion or feeling, and therefore subject to change. I may love someone because they are kind to me. If they stop being kind, I no longer love them, because my love was simply a positive feeling based on my current circumstances. Love is more than that; it is a decision of the will to act in light of a deep, abiding concern and affection for the object of our love.
When the Bible places “loving God” in the context of a command, it becomes the galvanizing force (strength) for not only how we feel about God (heart), but inspires our thoughts about Him (mind) and stimulates our desires for Him (soul). Loving God motivates our every decision and empowers our very lives.
Our heart is the center of our physical and spiritual life. It encompasses our passions, desires, affections. According to the Vines Expository Dictionary, the word “heart” came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and emotional elements. It includes emotions, reason, and will. Heart and soul are different words, but both represent the inner, immaterial part of man as separate from his physical body. The soul is literally the breath of life, which God breathed into man to make him a living being. Our mind is the faculty of understanding, what enables us to imagine and think and reason. Our strength is the ability, force or power we exert in loving God.
Each of these words (heart, soul, mind, strength) can be explored as to “how” we love God, but I think the collective meaning is the greater lesson. We are not to love God with only part of ourselves, but are to measure every thought, emotion, feeling, word, and action in light of our desire to please and honor Him. We are to pursue our love for Him in every aspect of daily life, with all that we are
This love is an EXCLUSIVE LOVE. LOVE HEART, SOUL, MIND, AND STRENGTH.
Matthew 6:24 AMP. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].”
Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 are in the context of money, or wealth, perhaps because He knew the hearts of his listeners. The religious leaders scoffed at Jesus and rejected Him because their desire for power, money and position overcame their love for God.
If we want to love God, we must love Him exclusively. No other gods can have our attention. Our hearts must be set only on what delights His heart. Our minds must be anchored only to His word as the final authority. Our souls must be satisfied only with what pleases Him. Our strength must be spent on what serves Him alone.
“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.” ~ Shannon Alder
Hebrews 13:5 AMP. “Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I WILL NEVER [under any circumstances] DESERT YOU [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], NOR WILL I FORSAKE or LET YOU DOWN or RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU [assuredly not]!””
Matthew 6:24 and now Hebrews 13:5.
The God of this world, the god that competes against our Jehovah God is mammon. Mammon is defined by money, power, possessions, fame, status, greed, sex, SELF, your time, your life, your pride, financially unethical, anything we VALUE MORE THAN THE LORD.
WHEN YOU VALUE SOMETHING, YOU CHOOSE IT OVER SOMETHING OR SOMEONE ELSE.
JUDAS VALUED SOMETHING MORE THAN GOD.
SAMSON VALUED SOMETHING MORE THAN GOD BRIEFLY.
LOTS WIFE VALUED SOMETHING MORE THAN GOD.
THE RICH YOUNG RULER WHO WOULD NOT GIVE UP HIS STUFF TO FOLLOW JESUS.
THE DISCIPLES WHO GOT OFFENDED AT JESUS AND STOPPED FOLLOWING HIM.
We see Gods love He gave us only begotten son.
We see Jesus love He gave himself as a sacrifice and ransom for our sins.
LOVE IS ACTION. LOVE IS GIVING. LOVE IS GIVING HELP. LOVE IS GIVING STUFF. LOVE IS GIVING FORGIVENESS. LOVE IS GIVING KINDNESS. LOVE IS GIVING HUMILITY. LOVE IS GIVING SERVICE.
LIFE IS FILLED WITH TESTS TO SEE WHAT YOU VALUE THE MOST. WHEN YOU ARE CHALLENGED OR CONFRONTED WITH THE CHOICE TO GIVE. WILL YOU? DO YOU GIVE?
We will either obey God when we value HIM or disobey Him when we value us.
It’s not as hard to Love God with our whole mind, heart, soul, and strength when you realize and can acknowledge God has been loving you and caring for you your whole existence. I have seen God care for me. I have seen God stop my enemies. I have seen God protect me and family. I have seen God make ways when I messed up and there was no way. I have seen God lift me and others up from nothing.
The key is when you love God you will tell and share to others who helped you. Who gave you the ideas. Who opened doors when you were locked out.
Love will always point to God not self. Loving God will always point back to God. Love will give the real credit to God, not self.
The first and second commandments.
1. LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND AND STRENGTH.
2. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
Matthew 22:39 AMP. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’”
The term revolution means: a sudden, radical, and complete change from the way things are normally done. I love that definition because I really feel that in order for us to start walking in the kind of love that Christ commanded us to - the "love your neighbor as yourself" kind - it's going to take a radical change in our current behavior. The church has become passive and selfish and it's going to take a revolution to get us back to the place where we are not just talking the talk, but walking in a love that shows the world Christ's love.
Love is more than talk it is action. I believe the start of loving your neighbor is do you care about their salvation?
We have no problem giving a few bucks to charity or some food but what about our neighbors spiritual condition? What about our family and co-workers, do we love our neighbors?
I think if I truly love people I will love them like Jesus. He fed them with food but also he fed their spirit with Kingdom Truths.
Christ was more concerned with the spirit than their bellies, He was concerned with the whole person, mind, body and soul.
Love your neighbor with ETERNITY.
1. Christ, model Him to your world.