Love. (Part 2)
How did it go? Did you take an honest assessment of love in your life? What love means to you and how you express it to others. The passage below, like most, is one that I have overlooked. Maybe you have too. After taking some time to really think and reflect on my experiences, I have some thoughts about the message below.
Matthew 22: 37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.”
I have to first understand and accept God’s unconditional love for me and THEN reciprocate that love. I need to truly understand that Jesus dying on the cross was the greatest sacrifice in history and that it was done for my sins. We talked about this last week. Christ painted the picture for sacrificial love by dying on the cross.
The third verse is the focus of today’s devotion. Loving your neighbor. More importantly, love your neighbor as yourself. What if we are trying to do more for our neighbor than we expect for ourselves. Is that sustainable love? God does not say love your neighbor more than you love yourself, or better than you love yourself. He says, “Love your neighbor AS yourself.” God died for you and me. By not loving yourself fully, you are saying that God was wrong in dying for you. And guess what, God is never wrong.
This is a radical thought. What if the reason our love for others is lacking is not that we are selfish and unloving people, but instead we are simply projecting our negative self-worth onto others. I do not fully accept God’s love, therefore I cannot fully give you my love. Following me? If not, I apologize but I think there is some truth to this. How well do you love yourself? Do you think it has any relation to how well you love others?
I’ll get personal. I have to believe that I am worthy of God’s love. In my lifetime I have dated two girls. Both of which loved me like crazy. For too long, I could not accept their love. I could not reciprocate it. And we all know what happened. I killed those relationships. It wasn’t until I saw myself like God sees me that I figured out how to be loved, and in turn, love someone back. Now, my goal is to constantly see myself as clean and holy, like God sees me, and love the literal hell out of my fiance. I could not do that before. It was not because I did not love her. It was because I was missing the love of my heavenly father. I was not giving God the credit he desired by sending His son to die on the cross. When I began to understand that kind of love, my game could only increase. Great things happen when we accept love for ourselves. We are that much closer to giving Christlike love to those around us.
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.”
The above verse amplifies the thought that God’s love is deeper and wider than we can imagine. When we accept that and live a life in response to that kind of love, the only option is to share it with others.
There have been a lot of topics over the last few weeks but this is undoubtedly the most important. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Love is the foundation. God is love.
Prayer: Today, I pray for an open heart. I pray that your love, that is so constant, would fill me up. I want to see myself the way you see me, Lord. I want to love me the way you love me. God teach me to love others like you love me. Give me that strength. Amen.