“'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.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
Last week we spoke about what makes God feel loved. When asked to summarize the entirety of the law, Jesus responded that it could be encompassed by two things. The first was loving God. The second was loving others as yourself. Just as with loving God, loving others goes far beyond simply not doing them wrong (obeying the ten commandments). In fact, have we ever stopped to think that perhaps God created the ten commandments as what not to do because what not to do was a shorter list? When Jesus gave this “new” commandment to love God and love others as ourselves, He was shifting our perspective. It was about much more than not harming others. It went even farther into blessing them.
If you have ever been to the eye doctor, often you are asked to place your eyes up to a machine that switches lenses to pinpoint the prescription each eye needs. When that “click” happens and a new lens shifts into place that radically clarifies your field of vision, I liken that to what happened when Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 22:36-40. It's an “aha!” moment of clarity. The law was never merely a set of rules of what not to do. It was only the beginning of the outline of what to do which was to love.
Over cultures, lifestyles, ages, and every other demographic worldwide, you would be hard-pressed to find one that did not have people who feel hungry for love. Love is a universal need built into our very being. We were created to desire communion with love because God is love. He made us to operate in loving community as the Body of Christ. In fact, it is impossible to walk as God willed or as Jesus modeled without having and expressing deep love for those around you.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:8-10 NIV
The instinctual reaction to hunger is look to take or consume nourishment. In the beauty of the paradoxical design of God, the fulfillment of feeling loving connections with others is actually the opposite of looking for ways to receive more love. If you want to increase the love in your life, look for more opportunities to give it away. By going to God- the source of all love and fulfillment- and asking Him, “who have you placed in my path that I can show love to?”, you are inviting God to fill you with love to pour out to those around you. With this others-centered focus that Jesus modeled and that we are designed to operate in, God has a way of blessing us as we look for ways to bless others.