LOVE, LOVE ME DO
A new year, a new decade, a page, a new chapter. It is indeed a season for new beginnings. Yet,
These are some timeless truths we need to anchor in and remind ourselves.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, goals, and plans all of which is very good to in order to live with purpose and intent. I do it myself.
Let me share one of my goals with you for this new season, nay for a lifetime actually.
My goal is to be more loving. I am by nature a doer. I feel fulfilled in doing tasks with many boxes ticked off. That also happens to be my love language i.e. serving people is what I do.
However, I ask myself a question: how well I am doing on being? Can I love in ways that others feel loved and receive love?
This makes me reflect on two passages which talk about love and challenge us. However, both have different approaches and standards.
The Pharisee, teacher, and ruler of the law were questioning and challenging Jesus’ authority and knowledge of scriptures. They were seeking to set a trap.
Imagine challenging the WORD OF GOD on the Word of God!! What utter foolishness. That is what spiritual pride and blindness do to us.
They tried to trap him by asking him of the Big 10 which was No 1.
Any God fearing Jew knew the answer to that: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.6 And these words, which I command Deut 6:4-6
To this Jesus added, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt 22:37-40
It was not addition really, but a summation of all the other 9. That sure tied the Pharisees in knots because they always wanted to get away with the bare minimum, counting dill and cumin.
Think about it. How do I love myself? Some of us love ourselves more and some less. Our love for ourselves can be distorted by life’s circumstances, experiences, culture, upbringing and what our significant others said to us, and how they treated us.
We can never love or give more than we give ourselves. For example if I don’t believe I deserve to live well, or dress well or earn well; chances are I will think others don’t need either and could even sit in judgment of any deviations from my standard. Mark that I did not say God’s standard.
The other thing that can happen is I could then give motivated by guilt or obligation.
Water finds its own level. That is where and how our love for others will rise and fall. Is this a standard to live by?
In the second passage, Jesus blows it out of the water in
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This was for his disciples alone- not for the Pharisee or the crowds. To his disciples he gave them a New Commandment – to love as He loves us!
Now this makes perfect sense. Why would Jesus point to an imperfect flawed standard of love like us? He has always been the standard.
He has never referred to anything but himself as being The way, The Truth and The Life. Why, he even swears by himself because there was nothing higher to swear by! God is love. It is the essence of his being. Only He is perfect love and can love perfectly.
His perfect demonstration of love was in him leaving heaven to become a human, identifying with us, and then dying in our place.
This is the truest and highest standard of love. Jesus said it himself – greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for a friend. You are my friends…
So loving your neighbor as yourself must come second to this greatest commandment.
As I think and ponder over this, I am reminded that I do not live by the law. I have been set free from the law. However, this is not so I can live at a lower standard. On the contrary, the bar has been raised to that of Jesus himself being my model.
If I keep this plumb line of love before me, I will make good choices not only for me but also for those around me.
The effect of loving as Jesus and not just to the measure that I love myself is that the world will be made aware of who Jesus is and that we truly belong to Him.
That is so powerful!! Is it no wonder that we fall into the trap of shifting dill and cumin? The devil would keep us busy counting from 1 to 7 and Jesus’ tongue in cheek response to that was not 7 but 70!
This year I want to remind myself to take
that love quotient higher and love as Jesus did. Do you?