“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The very first verses I taught my girls were Matthew 22:37-39. If you want to know God’s will for your life in a nutshell, well there you go.
Love God and love others, that pretty much sums it up.
I love how we are contrasting the Old Testaments commandments with the New Testament commandments. So many times we are tempted to see God in the Old Testament as cold, mean, and unapproachable, yet when you really get to the heart of the commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17 you’ll see they were all about loving God and loving others well.
When you look closer at the Old Testament commandments and the New Testament commandments you’ll see Jesus brought those rules, those commandments to life, literally.
Jesus turned the world upside down by living out Matthew 22:37-39. He showed what it looked like to take God’s commandments seriously and put them into action. When He did, the world changed for the better.
People were set free, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. People’s lives were changed from the inside out. Those who once had no hope, found hope because of Christ. Jesus loved God with everything He had and everything He was, and because of this He was able to love His neighbors well.
This advent season as we think about which gifts to give the loved ones in our lives, let’s regift the love Jesus has given to us. Our world is in desperate need of believing, feeling, and experiencing God’s love right now, and this season is the perfect time to be generous with the never-ending, bottomless love of Christ.
As we get those last minute deals and hard to find gifts for our loved ones, let’s also make sure we are gifting what really matters–our love.
Giving away love costs us nothing and everything all at the same time.
Loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind means loving Him with all of us and holding nothing back. It means delighting in Him for who He is. It means rejoicing in His amazing gift of salvation and choosing to live our lives in gratitude for what He has already done on our behalf.
Loving our neighbors means loving them the way we want to be loved. It means making the effort to bless them first, or going the extra mile if that is what they need. Loving them well might mean slowing down and really taking the time to talk to them to find out how they are doing. Or it might mean choosing to think the best of them and forgiving first, not keeping a record of wrongs. Loving our neighbors well might mean being sensitive to them by seeking to understand their life and what it feels like to be in their shoes. Loving our neighbors as ourselves means we hurt when they hurt, we mourn when they mourn, and we rejoice when they rejoice. It means we sacrifice when they are lacking and we do what we can with what we’ve been given.
This Christmas, let’s choose to love God and love our neighbors well by giving the gift of love to God, our neighbors, and ourselves.
May the world know us by our love!
Love God Greatly!
Week 2 Challenge:
This week, practice Sabbath. Take one day this week to be intentional to stop working, striving, creating, building, or organizing, and simply celebrate. Include your family or friends in this practice. Reflect on your experience. What does Jesus say about the Sabbath? How can you incorporate this spiritual discipline into your life each week?
Week 2 Reading Plan:
Week 2 Memory Verse:
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