61. Love God and love others (1)

Last week we looked at the first of two points that I would like to highlight regarding the Law of Moses. As I said last week, I am not going to go through the Law in detail now; I simply want to highlight these two points. Firstly a lot of the rules were given to ensure that the Israelites do not start acting like the people in Canaan that they were about to enter and last week I discussed how that applies to us and that we should not conform to this world, but rather follow God and His ways.

Now today I would like to look at the Law from a different angle. I think a lot of people are scared or not really motivated to become Christians when they look at all the 'Do nots' that we find in Leviticus. And then they come to the conclusion that the whole Bible is full of 'Do nots' and then they naturally don't want to read the rest of the Bible.

But Jesus sums up the Law of Moses beautifully in Matthew 22:37 - 40

'Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

John affirms this in 1 John 3:23:

'This is God's commandment: We must believe in the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.'

There are a number of other scriptures that affirm this, but I think the point has been made. The Law can be summed up in the following manner: Love God with all that you have, believe in His Son Jesus and love other people. This is the message that echoes throughout the Bible and that echoes to us today. Now at first I thought, thank goodness, that is not too difficult, but the more I think about it the harder it becomes.

To really love God means to spend time with Him, to put Him first above everything else, to take away things in our lives that He doesn't approve of and to stand up for Him and share Him with others no matter what the circumstances. Think about it carefully. It is not an easy task! It might be easy on a Sunday at church, but it certainly isn't easy when the week is rushed, when we don't have the time to spend with Him, when we are confronted with people who don't believe in Him or even worse if we were to find ourselves in a country where He isn't served and honored. Then it is not easy at all.

And to love other people is even worse! As Jesus said, it is easy to love our friends and family, but it is so difficult to love our enemies and those that hate us and want to do us harm. That is not easy, but that is what is expected of us. John pleaded in his first letter that we should love one another, especially our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It is sad to think that we don't even get that right, never mind loving unbelievers!

It is a very difficult task that Jesus has given us, but lucky for us, He gave us His Spirit to help us in it. He gives us the strength and the grace to be able to love like we should love. He would never have told us to do it if He knew we couldn't. In our own strength I am convinced we would never be able to do it, but with His help, everything is possible. But we need His strength. Ask Him for it and strive to be more like Him every day. That is the task of every Christian.

Father we feel as if we have an insurmountable mountain in front of us. But thank you that with You, all things are possible. Thank you that You will give us the strength that we need. We thank you that You loved us first, even though we were rotten through and through. Thank you Jesus, Amen.


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