Faye Bryant

Who do you love?

Jesus really had a way with words, didn’t He? I mean, he boiled the Ten Commandments and the 613 Levitical laws down into two simple commands:

You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Simple, yet so often we get this messed up and off-kilter. We will begin to love our neighbors more than we love God or we’ll love self over all. Oops.

I believe it’s incredibly important that we make the constant choice to love God completely, with every bit of every part of us, from emotions to intellect. When we choose to love Him this way, we tend to seek Him for advice, for direction, for wisdom. When we acknowledge God as the One in control, we walk the best path possible.

The next thing we need to do, and this isn’t blatant in these verses: we must love ourselves as God loves us. We’re told to love our neighbors just like we love ourselves. If we don’t have a grip on loving ourselves, we will not love our neighbors well.

It’s imperative that we love ourselves the same way God does so we don’t become overrun with arrogance and pride. We’re beloved by the Father, but we’re not all that and a box of chocolates. We are who we are because of Him. And in Him, we are loved unconditionally and sacrificially. God doesn’t call us names or beat us up for mistakes. He corrects us when we make wrong choices, but He doesn’t condemn us.

We must love us the same way. Then we’re able to extend that same sort of love to the people around us. Whether we think they’re wrong, right, sane, crazy, weird, or just right, we have the capacity to love them with the love of God poured into us.

If you’re having trouble loving others, step back and look at the first two parts of this equation. Are you loving God with all you are or are you holding back in one or more areas? Are you loving yourself the way God loves you or do you treat yourself like either a worthless soul or worth more than any other? If we will get these right, we’ll be fulfilling both these commandments well.

Time for some examination, huh? Let’s ask God to show us where we’re lacking in loving Him fully and where we’re loving ourselves incorrectly or incompletely. Let’s invite Him to show us our neighbors so we can love them with His love and glorify Him in doing so.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

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