“To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33
A teacher of the law came up to Jesus to ask Him what the most important law was. After Jesus answered him, the man agreed that loving God and all neighbors were the more important than any sacrifice that can be made.
People always want to know what they can and cannot do. They want to know the boundaries. Most want to know, so that they can know how close they can get to the edge without being in trouble. It is commonly thought that only children are great at getting close to the edge of trouble without stepping into it, but adults do it all the time.
Instead of focusing on a bunch of rules, Jesus summed up all the commands of God into two rules: love God, and love others. It is that simple–to love everyone.
Now comes the question: what does it mean to love?
The first place to answer that is found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
Love means that you will do whatever it takes to not hurt the other person.
Love means you will serve the other person as much as possible.
Love means you will obey God in whatever He tells you to do.
Love means you trust God in whatever He says or does or does not say or do.
Love means you will be full of grace and mercy towards others.
Love means you will do whatever it takes to help others be the best they can be in Christ Jesus.
Love means you will spread the gospel message to everyone you meet.
Love means you will not dishonor God or anyone else in any way.
Love means you will build others up and not tear them down.
Love means you will turn away from all sin.
Love means you will have a full relationship with God and with others.
Love means you will listen to God and others.
How each person shows each of these means of showing love will be different, but God can reveal to you how that is to happen.
Fill your heart with God and you will fill it with love. When your heart is filled with His love, it will be easy to show that love to God and others.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will be filled with His love; that you will show God’s love to everyone you meet; and that you will be the light of Jesus to this world.
“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:40
Jesus was asked by some teachers of the Law what was the greatest commandment. He told them to love God and to love the neighbor. He finishes with telling them that all the other commandments are based off of those two.
People do not like to have a lot of rules and regulations to follow. They want to have their freedom to do what they want, when they want and how they want. Yet, they know that rules are a necessity.
Since rules are required, most people want to know what they are. In that process, they also want to know what the most important rules are. They want to know which rules will enact the harshest punishment if not followed. It will also let them know what they can cut corners on, because the other rules are not so important.
The challenge with having many different rules, is that it is difficult to remember each one. When a person does his taxes, there are thousands of different rules regulating them. It is difficult for a person to know every one of those rules.
People need the rules to be simplified to be able to understand them. The more rules that there are, the easier it is to miss one.
Jesus simplified all the rules into two. All one has to do is love God and love his neighbor. If that is done, all the other commands of God will be followed perfectly.
In order to follow these commands, you must ask yourself on a regular basis if what you are saying or doing is loving God and loving your neighbor. If your words or actions are loving God and your neighbor, you are following God’s greatest commands and all the other commands of God.
If they are not loving God or your neighbor, you have something you must change. Later in scripture you are told that to love God is to love your neighbor, and to love your neighbor is to love God.
There is now no reason for you to wonder what God’s commands are for you. They are all summed up in two simple little rules: 1) love God, and 2) love your neighbor.
Are you following these two simple commands?
Are you really loving God as you say you are?
I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will love God with all of your life; that you will love your neighbors as God loves them; and that you will follow God with all of your heart.
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18
God was getting ready to free the Israelites from the bondage in Babylon. During the time of the bondage, they did not have any peace in their lives. God reminds them that the reason they had no peace was because they had chosen to disregard His commands. If they would have obeyed His commands their peace would have been like a river.
Rivers are a beautiful thing to watch and be near. Some rivers have fast flowing water, while others are slow-moving. In either case, the water is still moving and changing all the time. As it flows, the water moves the bad stuff out, while bring in fresh clean water.
Looking closely at a river, one will usually see a lot of life in it and around it. Fish will be swimming in the water. Animals will be near it to drink of its refreshing water. Trees and other plants will surround the edges.
All of these things show peace and harmony on the river. People go to rivers for this peace.
Many are looking for peace in this world. There are even believers who sometimes wonder where the peace of God is in their own lives.
Knowing and obeying God’s commands will bring about that same peace and harmony. Not following God’s commands is sinning against Him. When there is sin in your life, there is a separation between you and God. When there is separation, you will not have the peace that He is wanting to provide you.
Think about times when you know you are doing God’s will, when you feel you are in the presence of God. What do you feel? You feel His peace and love all around you, regardless of what is going on around you.
If you do not feel that peace of God, examine your life. Are you obeying His commands? Or are you doing your own thing?
Your past is already done, but you can change what your future looks like. Follow God and obey Him to bring His peace to your future on this earth. His peace is never ending like the water flowing in a river, and is always cleansing and bringing life to those it touches.
I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will obey all God tells you; that you will know God’s peace in your life; and that God’s peace will bring you the life you need.
Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:127-128
Love of gold or money is something that many people have a hard time getting past. In the economy of this world money is something that is needed in order to survive. To be able to eat, have clothing, or shelter, a person needs to have money. So it is needed…to a point.
The difficult part is that money is only needed to supply the basic needs, not necessarily for the extra pleasures of this life. Once a person has the basic needs met, he often continues on to ‘need’ other things, such as a more luxury of a car, a bigger house, a longer vacation, a bigger bank account and it goes on.
Very often in the pursuit of these other things, many will also start to head down the wrong path. They walk away from God’s ways of living and doing things. Church and ministry are put on the back burner and forgotten. The Bible is setting collecting dust, not being used.
In the pursuit of gold, many begin to compromise on God’s laws. They start to give into sin in their life. This does not happen suddenly or in a fast manner. It is a slow process of walking away from God for most. But they start to travel down the wrong path.
Those who love God’s Word and commands will keep themselves from walking the wrong path. They will, like the psalmist, hate the wrong path. They will love follow God’s ways of living and obeying His commands. Jesus said that if you love Him, you will obey my commands.
As you go through this life, you must ask yourself what is most important. Is it self or is it God?
When you love God and His commands, you will turn away from self and this world. You will no longer see great value in the gold of this world. You will also hate taking the wrong path in this life.
God knows what is best. Are you going to trust Him and follow Him?
Or will you seek the false gold of this world?
I pray today that you will love God’s commands; that you will trust God’s commands; that God will help you turn from wrong paths in life; and that you will serve God with all of your life.
Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. Deuteronomy 4:2
As God had given all the commands on how to serve Him, such as all the sacrifices and what to do or not to do, He told them not to add to or subtract from those commands. They were not to ignore any of the commands. Nor were they to add their own commands as though they were God’s commands.
Adding to God’s commands is an easy thing to do and is commonly done. Over the years people have placed various commands upon people as though they were God’s. Some of those were the command to be poor, or to not dance at all, or to not watch any movie. The list is nearly endless of the types of commands people have added.
Others have also subtracted from God’s commands. Saying God accepts sexually sinful lifestyles, or accepts anyone being drunk, or that there are many ways to get into heaven, and again the list goes on.
As a believer in God, the Bible is the final word. Anything that does not line up with the Bible is either adding or subtracting from God’s commands.
Many times the addition or subtraction is very subtle. It slightly twists a single verse to make it acceptable. Some of these have been accepted by churches for so long that everyone accepts them as God’s Word.
You need to stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. Study the Bible daily to know what God’s commands are. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you in understanding the Bible, so that you will not be led astray in some false teaching that adds or subtracts from the Bible.
God laid out the perfect plans for every person. His commands are perfect and are done in perfect love. They are what is best for you and everyone else at the same time.
Are you following God’s commands?
Or are you adding and subtracting from God’s commands?
I pray today that you will know God’s Word in your heart; that God will reveal to you what He desires of you; that God will open your eyes to false beliefs in the church; and that you will follow God with all of your heart and obey all His commands.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
Many people will claim to believe in God. There are actually very few people who have no belief in God. Yet, very few of those same people will believe in Jesus. And of those who believe in Jesus, very few are committed to Him.
Jesus makes a hard, but very simple statement in this verse. If you love Him, you will obey Him.
It is very easy to say that you love someone. Think about teenagers in high school. One boy and girl meet and instantly fall in love and tell each other that they love each other. A few weeks later something is said or done and now they hate each other. The love they had was very superficial, it was not deep true love. It is a “I love you while things are going good” or “as long as you meet my needs”.
This same type of love carries over into marriages. Divorce is extremely common among believers for the same reason. I love you for meeting my needs, not I love you for you.
Many believers also bring this same type of love to Jesus. They love Him for saving their lives and taking away their sins, not for who He really is.
If you love Jesus, you will love Him for who He is. He is God. He is the One in absolute control. He is the One who can be fully trusted.
If all of these things are true, which they are, then you will want to obey Him. To say that you love Him, yet refuse to obey Him is a slap in His face.
If you love a person, you will want to walk alongside that person. You would want to be in agreement with that person. To love Jesus, you must obey Him, to walk alongside Him and agree with His ways.
Do you really love Jesus today? Are you walking with Him or against Him? Are you obeying His commands or doing your own thing?
I pray today that you will know the love Jesus has for you; that you will learn to obey Jesus fully; that you will have true love for Jesus; and that you will trust Jesus with all you are and have.