There are many commands given to us in the scriptures. The Bible gives very thorough instructions on how we are to live our lives. However, everything can be summed up in the one command to love God and to love people. Jesus said that ‘on these two commands hang all the law and the prophets.’ What did Jesus mean by that? He meant that if you cannot get your love for God and your love for people right then nothing else will be right. When you get these two things right, then everything else will fall into place. But, what does it really mean to love God and to love people? Let’s look at this more closely.
Love God. Jesus described three ways in which we are to love Him. (1) With all your heart. To love God with all your heart is to love Him completely. When you say that you love someone with all your heart, you are saying that there is absolutely nothing that stands in the way of your love for that person. To love God with all your heart has to do with priority. Is Jesus the number one love of your life? Is He the priority of your life? In considering our love for God, and whether or not He is the priority of our life, there are two things to consider: our checkbook and our day planner. How we spend our money and how we spend our time is a good indication as to where our heart is. Think about it. It is a very simple concept. Jesus said that ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ The old saying, ‘put your money where your mouth is’ should be changed to ‘put your money where your heart is.’ When you look at your checkbook, how do you spend your money? Is it spent on frivolous things and personal entertainments? How many checks are written to support missions and the work of your church? What percentage of your income is given to your local church? How often do you give to help someone in need? These are really good questions to consider when measuring our love for God. Our day planner is another thing to consider. How we spend our time is also a good indication of our love for God. How much time do you spend in the Word and in prayer? How much of your life revolves around involvement in your church? How often do you check your facebook each day compared to the amount of time you spend in Bible reading? When you really love someone you will spend time with them. The amount of time you spend in the things of God is a good indicator of your love for Him. (2) With all your soul. Your soul is the real you. To love God with all your soul is to love Him authentically and to love Him with your whole personality. This has to do with purpose. How authentic is your love for God? Do you act like you love God out of obligation or fear? When you really love someone, you will do anything for that person. Would you do anything for God? Would you sacrifice your time, talents, and treasure for Him? If you do, is it real? One of the questions I struggle with most often in my life is, what is my motivation? Do I do things simply because it’s my job or it’s expected of me? Do I do what I do in order to build a name for myself? These are questions we should all consider. Can we honestly say that we serve Him because we love Him? Can we honestly say that we love God with all our soul? (3) With all your mind. The mind has to do with your will and determination. To love God with all your mind is putting your love into practice. In other words, we are to be determined to love Him. We are to fight to not allow anything to come in the way of or hinder our love for God. We are to be focused. There are many things in this world that distracts us. There are many things that are fighting for our attention. When we love God with all of our mind, we have a determination to cast off those things that distract us and pull us away from Him. When we love Him with all our mind, we will be a focused and determined people.
Love People. Not only are we to love God, but we are also to love people. Jesus said to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There are several ways in which we are to love people. (1) In the family: sacrifice yourself for the well-being of your family. We have a moral obligation and responsibility before God to care for our family. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” I believe that this sacrificial love and care for family begins with your immediate family (husband, wife, and children) and extends to other family members (parents, grandparents, in-laws, etc.) How can you love your neighbor if you do not love your family? How can you help those in need if you do not first care for the needs of your own family? (2) In the church: submit to one another. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” When it comes to life in the church, we need to understand that it is not all about us. Together, we are to seek to do that which brings Jesus the most glory. In doing so, we are to be careful that we do not stir up strife and divisions. Instead, we are to submit to one another. This means that there are times when we must put aside our personal preferences, visions, and dreams for the good of the whole church body. Church is not about what you can get out of it or what you can benefit from it, rather, church is a place where you are to give of yourself through the use of your spiritual gifts, talents, and money so that the church will be able to fulfill its purpose and mission in the world. (3) In the world: share the love of Jesus. In relation to the world we are to love people enough that we do all we can to share the love of Jesus with them. Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” If you are a born-again child of God, you have been given the responsibility to share the good news of Jesus with everyone you come into contact with. The church is God’s elected agent for the evangelization of the world. To love people is to be concerned over their eternal destiny so much so that nothing will stand in your way of sharing them the truth concerning Jesus. Our witness of Jesus is to be both vocal and by example. We are to preach the truth and also live out the truth. People need to see a difference in us. They need to see how Jesus has changed us and how Jesus can change them. To love people includes loving our family, our church, and all people of the world.
Jesus reminds us that if we get these two commands right, then everything else will fall into place. It all goes back to how much you love Jesus and how much you love people.