Matthew 22:36-40, " Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
To me, this passage would qualify as a life passage, with verse 37 being my "life" verse. God has used this particular passage every day and throughout my life to challenge me to grow in many ways. This is a passage that is not just a passing thought, but a Christian life principle that is necessary for every day of our lives. If I may, I'd like to focus on one part of it today.
This passage prepares our heart to live a life that isn't just free of the wrong things, but full of the right things. Growing up, I sometimes thought that since I wasn't living in sin or openly rebelling, that I was doing just fine. By comparing myself to others, or to a checklist of rules, I could feel like I was fully living the Christian life. But I overlooked, and every Christian can overlook, that it's not just about refraining from breaking Gods law, but it's about giving all to God and serving Him out of a heart of love.
After all, if we foster a true heart of love for God and others, we will certainly not break God's laws. For example, let's take the Ten Commandments. If we love God with all our hearts, then we would never have any other God but Him. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we would never consider hate or murder of our neighbor.
Loving God and others with all our heart will keep us from sin. However, if we simply try to just follow the "rules", we are missing the relationship and motivation of love to God and others. The Christian life is not just about refraining to break rules. It's about loving God and others in every way so that we go beyond just refraining from wrong, but do everything we can to do what's right! Perhaps there is no outstanding or glaring sin in your life, but that's not what God is commanding us to do in these verses. He is asking us to love Him and others with all our heart. This means that we must be about sharing that love and proactively doing God's will from a heart of love. We must learn to forgive, share the gospel, serve others, sacrifice, give financially, and all things from a heart of love.
It is God's desire to see us love Him and others on a level beyond just refraining from wrong things, but on the level of earnestly going above in the right things. My friend, God loves us so abundantly that He could never sin against us. He also loves us so much that He has and will do anything and everything for us. May we follow His example and commandment of wholehearted love to Himself and others in all areas of our lives.
Written by Aaron Lanier