This is one area that has seen many debates not only in Christianity but across different religions globally. How do you truly love God. Someone would even ask how to love someone you do not see?
In some cases among Christians this is one issue that has kept many confused or even frustrated. Could you even imagine being in bondage trying to love God as one being in an abusive relationship. I have seen many being either criticized or chastised for not loving God enough from pulpits or any religious platforms. I always wonder how in the world that could make someone fall in love. Talk about whipping you to be in love.
If there were any group of people who lived their lives everyday continually to please God to prove their love, it would be the Jews. These were the ones who God gave the commandments and ordinances through Moses. You could not really preach morality to them as a gentile because they always had something you were missing.
But they met a man called Jesus who challenged their thinking and philosophy about to the very roots. Here was a man whose lifestyle communicated the goodness of God but was attracting the worst of sinners. The life in him healed the sick and raised the dead. With all he did there didn’t seem to be much about rules because there was always constant access to him.
So the religious leaders in Israel decided to ask Jesus what was the greatest commandment. His answer has actually confused many of us but it was meant to bring them to the end of themselves.
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
It’s important for you to know that they were not asking Jesus because they wanted to know but they were looking for an occasion to trap him.
Secondly please note the 2nd question they asked him “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” the context is IN THE LAW. His answer was based on what they asked him.
Now I will attempt to show why it was not given to be kept because it couldn’t.
The 1st greatest commandment: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This commandment has been broken by all men. There does not exist any man that can keep it. When the law was given it was a challenge to man against the full and righteous holy standards which is far higher than the ways of men.
The law was not given to Israel for them to prove their holiness but to show them their nakedness and spiritual deficiency. Even the best of them David failed at keeping this one. So the law became a reference point for the devil to condemn men because they always fell short.
3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The 2nd greatest commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Is it possible for you to love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself. You cant give what you don’t have. The 1stcommandment already made men feel condemned and miserable. How could they now love their neighbor when there was no acceptance in them. The Pharisees and Saduccees were a good example. They couldn’t love the tax collectors and sinners like Jesus because they couldn’t give what they didn’t have.
Jesus already had the love of the father in Him. The father pronounced His love even before he started ministry. So ministry became an outlet for him challenge that fatherly love to anyone he met. There so many miserable homes today because the parents did not receive love from their earthly parents. They just passed on what they received.
According to Romans 8 quoted above you would realize God’s plan in salvation. God condemned sin in the flesh so that all the righteous requirements including the 2 above might be fulfilled in us by Jesus.
Now I want you to see what Jesus called his own commandment and not the commandment.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
First of all you can’t keep the commandment of love without first understanding the love of the father. Jesus described his love as the love of the father. Paul said that the love of God has poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit in Romans 5:5
The revelation of the love of God is one of the essential roles of the Holy Spirit in our lives. You cannot love God without first having the revelation of the love of God. The love of God is not about keeping rules and regulations if it were so then the law of Moses would still be relevant now.
Jesus said keeping this commandment would bring about joy in your life. Jesus his burden is light. Keeping this commandment would be just as natural as breathing.
Based on the scripture above Jesus stated His commandments in clear terms: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
We are to love based on how he loved us. So the question is how did he loved us? Jesus gave the answer in the next verse.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
His love was his sacrifice on the cross as our substitute. His love was about how God commended his love to us while we were still sinners. It is an unconditional love.
When you begin to realize the Father’s unconditional, unmatched love for you, you will also find loving those around you very easy. When we comprehended His love for us, loving others became absolutely effortless. This knowledge teaches us how to love, for “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
When Jesus overcame the devil in the wilderness, He did it by every word that proceeded from the mouth of His Father, and the last words of His Father were, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Satan immediately questions whether or not Jesus is the Son of God, and he noticeably drops the word “beloved” (Matthew 4:3). He never wants you to remember how much the Father loves you, and the Father wants you to never forget it.
So many today would want to prove to the devil that they are Christians. They are caught up trying to prove their love for God with a performance based Christianity. All God wants you to know is that you are accepted in the Beloved.
A revelation of His love for us expands our ability to love others, thus causing us to fulfill His command to love. The scripture further explains that when we know the love of Christ, we will “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
This is why it is so beautiful that the Apostle John repeatedly refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved in the book of John which he wrote. It does not mean that Jesus loved him more than anyone else, but that John recognized how loved that he was. God loves you know more or less than He loves anyone else, but you should recognize his love for you and you will walk in His benefits.