"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" Matthew 22:39
Question: Do we believe we can truly love our neighbor without loving God first?
Someone has said that love is something we do and that's true. Love is a conscious or subconscious decision to give ourselves to another person. There are many ways to love, but we're loving only when we desire to be. In other words, we have to decide to be loving...loving is an act of the will.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT?
Some leaders once asked Jesus, "Which is the greatest of God's commandments?" His reply was, "Thou shall love the Lord your God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind" (Matt. 22:37). The most important thing we can do is to love God.
And then Jesus said that the second most important command of God is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In just a few words Jesus gave us the key to life. If we are willing to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves, our lives are transformed day by day. Why? Because in being willing to love, we learn to receive love, and love especially the love of God does more to change lives than anythng in the whole universe.
WHO WILL BE FIRST?
Because we are afraid of being rejected, it is much easier to love someone that already loves us. That's why there isn't more love in the world...we withhold our love until the other person gives us their love.
You see, we really do have to decide to love. We need to give acceptance, not rejection, forgiveness instead of resentment, kindness in place of contempt, and forbearance instead of impatience. The problem is we don't have the strength to change ourselves. But God has the strength and wants to give it to us if we are willing to obey His command to love...even to love someone who doesn't love us first.
The Bible says that God's strength is "made perfect" in our weakness and that we can even glory in our weakness if we are willing to do our part and trust Him to do His part. God's love is so powerful that it flows right through us to other people when we open ourselves to Him. That's strange but it's true. Whe we accept the love God offers us, there is so much peace and joy that we naturally began to love others and even ourselves.
So you see, the answer to our dilemma is God Himself...He loves us first and keeps on loving us even though reject Him and go our own way. Scripture says that we can love God because He first loved us and that His love never changes, never dies. That means we don't have to withhold our love anymore...we can love God knowing that He won't reject us. And when we receive His love we not only receive power to love our neighbor as we love ourselves but we receive power to become children of God.
"To all who received him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12).