READ: Matthew 22:34-40
Lent is a wonderful time of year to refocus on the love that God has for you. Loving God and loving people is dependent on how well you know and receive God’s love for you.
Jesus was confronted by the experts of the law, the Pharisees, and was asked what the greatest commandment was. They wanted to hear what Jesus had to say about the most important commandment from God, hoping they would trap Him. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Jesus summed up the heart of the Ten Commandments by saying that loving God with your all, and loving people as yourself was and is the greatest commandment.
God does not love you because you do good things for Him. God’s love is not based on you living a perfect life; God’s love is based on who He is. God is love (1 John 4:16). You cannot separate love from God because it is part of His unchanging nature. Since God is holy, His love for you is perfect, eternal, and unconditional. God does not love you because you (fill in the blank). God loves you because He loves you.
God’s love is so amazing that even though you did not care for God, think about God, and maybe even lived a life against what He commands, He came for you and died for you (Romans 5:6-11). God is merciful towards you; He does not give you what you deserve. God has grace for you; He initiates His blessing towards you though you don’t deserve them. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
With God’s great love in mind, Jesus says that we are to love God back. The beauty of being saved by grace through faith in Jesus is that He transforms you into someone new (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we receive the mercy and grace of God no matter what condition we find ourselves, we want to love God back.
As people who have been saved, set free, healed, restored, and made whole, we supernaturally love God back. This love for God is not a love that is casual, comfortable, or sloppy. Jesus said to love with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, and ALL your mind (Matthew 22:37). Jesus loved us greatly, even by dying on the cross for us. In return, we are to love God with all that we have within us. How do we love Jesus back? By obeying what He says to us (John 14:15).
When you are filled with the love of God and desire to love God in return, loving others is part of that equation. The more you are filled with the love of God, you will truly love God, and by loving God, you love what He loves. God loves people.
God not only wants you to experience His love, but wants the world to believe and receive His love. What a great extension of God’s love that you are: the body of Christ. You are the extension of God loving people.
How can you love others more? Is there someone you can pray for or with? Is there money you can give to someone in need? Are you willing to be used by God in serving someone that needs help? Is there a kind and encouraging word for someone? Perhaps there is someone that just needs to know that God loves them and that you are there to listen.
When the love of God rules, it can transform marriages, families, churches, and communities. Let God’s love reign in you and let it flow through you.