The Great and First Commandment

Often I pray for myself, and others, this verse, Matthew 22:37. It is the answer Jesus gave to the question “Teacher which is the great commandment in the Law?”

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Fulfilling this command would be hopeless without a revelation of God, from God. That we have in the scriptures and Jesus Christ.  How do you love anyone if you don’t know them in a way that reveals their character? And God is not like us, He is altogether different. So when I get discouraged because I know I don’t love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, I go to scripture desiring to know more about Him, willing to be corrected and guided.  (Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to teach us “all things.”)  Learning to love God in this way will take more than a lifetime, and it is as much a gift as it is an obligation.

C. S. Lewis helped me with another of my concerns about loving God and others:

It is probably impossible to love any human being simply “too much.” We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy….But the question whether we are loving God or the earthly Beloved “more” is not, so far as concerns our Christian duty, a question about the comparative intensity of two feelings. The real question is, which (when the alternative comes) do you serve, or choose, or put first? To which claim does your will, in the last resort, yield? The Four Loves, chap. 6, para.15.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  Jn. 14:15


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