I have been thinking about what it means to love God by loving those around me, including family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, those I worship with, and even those on my Facebook friends list! I don’t think I do a very good job, but the Lord has been talking to me about improving on that area of my life.
I have been reading in John a lot lately, not in his gospel, but in first and second John, later on in the New Testament. He says, “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands.” (1John 5:2-3, NIVUV)
So, to break it down further, I took a look at God’s commands in the Old Testament. (Exodus 20:3-17 NIVUK). I have added my own thoughts and comments.
- God is number one. He is, not anyone or anything else. God the Father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. He loves us more than anyone or anyone else could, and he enables us to love each other. So it makes it so much easier to show love when you have the greatest example in front of you.
- Nothing and no one else is to be number one. God will show love to a 1000 generations of those who love him and keep his Commandments. This is a great promise. If we put God first, he will bless our family, for many generations. For a lot of us who can look back through our family tree, we see how honouring God has blessed our family.
- Don’t misuse the name of the Lord your God. Don’t take his name in vain. Don’t swear using his name. Be very careful how and when you use his name. I have to admit, it bothers me when my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith use the name of God recklessly. And what about the people that know that we are a Christian, and they hear us use God’s name in vain? You would think that that would make them wonder about our faith. Be careful about your testimony. Authenticity is hard to find. everyone is looking for that these days. Those around you that you are trying to show love to will find it easier to accept that love if they believe that you are on the level and real. Authentic.
- Take one day a week where you don’t work. And where no one else in your house works. Keep it holy. You need to spend time to destress, relax, and spend time thinking about God. Spend time relaxing with your family. That will draw you closer together. That will help you love each other more and share that love with each other more.
- Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Respect your family. This command with a promise would not be in here if God did not think it was important. A lot of people have suffered at the hands of their parents. By respecting and honouring, I don’t think that means accepting bad or evil behavior. You should never stay in a relationship where there is abuse.
- You shall not murder. This one is obvious I think. If you murder, you are not showing love.
- You shall not commit adultery. God wants us to stay out of a marriage relationship. You show love and honour to those around you by respecting that marriage covenant. If you wander too closely to someone else’s marriage bonds, there will be consequences.
- You shall not steal. If it’s not yours, don’t take it. If you are showing love to someone, you are not going to take something that belongs to them.
- You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. No lying that is against someone. This of course includes gossip. Be careful little lips what you say!
- You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, wife, husband, etc. or anything that belongs to your neighbour. Yearn to possess. Desire. This goes past the actions talked about previously, but straight to the heart.
In 2nd John 1: 5 and 6, John says the same thing: “I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his command. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (NIVUV)
In the Gospels, we are told that the experts in the law asked Jesus a question about the greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:36-40 NIVUK)
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘ “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 neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”
So, if we love the Lord Our God with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our mind, we are going to do what he asks us to do. We are going to obey him. And loving our neighbour as ourselves pretty much sums up those things that he asks us to do.
I hope that this message is for someone that is reading it, as much as it is for me. God wants us to increase our love for him and for each other. And that doesn’t mean just those we like. Our “neighbour” includes everyone, whether or not they dress the same, worship the same, or vote the same. It also includes those that live down the street and around the world.
Sometimes I get so caught up in my own worries and cares that I don’t look around and see those who are in need of my love. I would rather not talk to the neighbour who’s out on their front lawn. But I need to. Not only to show my love for God, to show that I care for them, but also for the health of my own mind and Spirit. Reaching out to others gets our focus off ourselves. Reaching out in worship to God shows him that we love and obey him.
Loving God, and loving each other. I pray that each of us will “walk in love,” a little bit more today.
By Lorraine Walker
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