natalie barentson 2

LOVE

NATALIE BARENTSON

Matthew 22:35-40

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “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 neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I grew up going to church and hearing that I needed to love God and love people. I always knew those were good things to do, but my life really reflected that loving anyone but myself was secondary to me. I loved God because he blessed me. I loved others because of how it would benefit me. Even in my claim to “love” others more than myself, I was incredibly selfish.

I wish I could say that I have fully outgrown this and that I have mastered Jesus’ command. However, I have been learning that truly loving people selflessly is a constant choice we have to make. We cannot just walk through the motions of loving people because love is so much more than just doing nice things for others. Love must flow from the selflessness of your heart. It must be sincere. That is the type of love that Jesus calls us to give to God and to others.

Everything else that we do in the name of Jesus stems from this command. Imagine what this world would be like if we all learned to love one another selflessly, just like God loves us! Imagine what your relationships would be like if you were all about serving and loving others and they did the same for you and everyone else. What a beautiful world this would be! Maybe that is why Jesus made those the two greatest commandments.

QUESTION 1. If Jesus were to examine your heart, who would he find you spending most of your energy loving?
QUESTION 2. Who do you need to focus on loving more sacrificially this week?
CHALLENGE: Spend today thinking more about how you could love others than how they could love you…then live out that love!