This commandment of God is fairly simple and straightforward: Love God and love others. But, there is an extension on the last part…we are to love others AS we love ourselves.
What we hope for ourselves we should hope for others – happiness, health, and a life succeeding in all that God has purposed for us. And if we follow through with that, it is not a “selfish” love…but a love that hopes and desires the best for others.
To have a healthy “self-love” we need to see ourselves as God sees us. We need to walk in the identity that we have in Christ Jesus. That identity from God enables us to love others out of a healthy, secure place of knowing our place in God’s kingdom. (more on identity for a later time…)
Who is our neighbor? I don’t look at the word neighbor as pertaining to how well we know someone. But, I look at the word neighbor as pertaining to who is within our “sphere” at any given time. Our neighbor could be that person who lives right next door or across the street from us. But, it could also be that person who we come across in the grocery store or gas station that we don’t know at all. I believe our neighbor is whoever the Lord puts in our path at any given time.
The most important and critical part of this commandment is the first part – to love God! And how do we love Him? We love Him with EVERYTHING we have – heart, soul, strength, and mind!! We don’t love Him with PART of our heart, soul, strength, and mind–we love Him with ALL…completely!
I invite you to join me in meditating on what it would look like if we were to love Him to that degree each day. What would we change; what would we do differently? How would we “walk that out” in our day-to-day lives?
I believe it is impossible to love others and to love ourselves in the way that God calls us to, unless we have the first part in place — LOVING GOD. As we love God, we are able to love others as ourselves. HE must come first…and then everything else will fall in line.
HIS LOVE flowing through us will change not only our lives, but the lives of others! HALLELUJAH!!
On this Valentine’s Day, may we pour out our love on the LORD OUR GOD and then allow the love that He pours out on us to flow in an unending stream in and through us to others.
BLESSINGS & LOVE, dear Brothers and Sisters!
~Tina K. Roach