Sunday, July 15, 2007

That 'Love Thy Neighbor' Thing... (Part 2)

Yesterday I brought up Jesus' response when He was "tested" with the question, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus answered the question by quoting from two sources: Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." (Deut 6:5)

" shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18)

Jesus said that all the Law and Prophets hangs on these two commandments. He wasn't just talking about the Ten Commandments, but "all" the Law and "all" the Prophets. Anything and everything that we find in the 600-plus Old Testament Laws and in all the words of the Old Testament Prophets, can be summarized and boiled down to these two commandments.

And so I asked the question a couple of times, "how are you doing with these two commandments?" After all, God commanded them! And if you think about it, all you have to do is just love God and love others, and you've fulfilled the whole thing! Well, let me pull a quick "Dr. Phil" on you. :) I've never seen a second of Dr. Phil, except on TV commercials, but I've heard that one of his lines is, "How's that working for you?"

So, forgetting for a second all the other commandments and all the words of the prophets... In regards to loving God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength, and in regards to loving your neighbor as yourself, "How's that working for you?"

Maybe not so good? Maybe you can just try a little harder? Maybe one day you'll be able to do better at loving God and loving others?

Or... Maybe you're doing pretty good! Maybe you've got the "Loving God" thing down pat, and you're doing your very best at "Loving your neighbor!" Maybe God's got YOU on a crusade to get other people to start obeying these two important commands!

No matter how you are evaluating your performance - from "very poorly" to "trying harder" to "getting there" to "doing a great job" to... whatever - I want to take a look into God's very own definitions of "love," including some parables and other scriptures that might be a good basis for truly determining exactly what it is to love God and to love others.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

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