Jesus told His followers that if they loved Him, they would obey Him. Here, John reminds us of that. It’s pretty important to God.
If we say we love God, we will be obedient to His commands. That includes the don’t steal, don’t envy, don’t lie, don’t murder, as well as the love others. See, the “love God, love others” came from those original ten.
The first four commandments are all about loving God while the remaining six are about loving others. See, if we love God, there won’t be any gods before Him, no idols in His place, never using His name irreverently or in curses, and always choosing to enjoy His day with peace and rest.
Then the ways our love for others will be recognizable is through:
• Honoring our parents – even when they aren’t honorable. There’s no caveat for that. Just do it.
• Not killing. Study of the Word shows us that this doesn’t include the penalty for crimes, God laid out specific instructions about death being a penalty for certain things, but otherwise…don’t do it.
• Not being adulterous. Our focus, our intimate conversations, our physical intimacy belongs to one and one alone.
• Keeping our hands off that which belongs to another. What they have is theirs and we have no right to it. Period.
• Telling the truth and never inventing an alternate truth (which is literally a lie) about anyone.
• Not giving in to the aching desire for what belongs to someone else – be it material or relational. We may choose to admire, but not long for it. We should celebrate what others have instead of being greedy for it.
God described in detail how we are to treat other people, and that hasn’t changed over the millennia. Today, this list seems antiquated and besides, isn’t God relevant to today? He’s not as caught up in those things now as He was then, right?
The same yesterday, today, and forever. God is just as adamant about these things now as He was when He handed them down to Moses, and obeying these is how we prove our love for Him and for others – the two greatest commandments.
Which one(s) are you not living? Are you skipping that honoring parents thing because they’re not with it or because they mistreated you in the past?
Have you cursed someone, calling them a fool, as though they have no reason to be alive? Jesus said that’s murder.
Have you become partial to someone besides your spouse, giving intimate details of your heart to them when those belong to the one you’ve made a covenant with before God?
Have you lifted a pen from the office without permission? Taken items from a hotel room? Downloaded a track that you didn’t pay for?
Have you made up or passed on rumors about someone that weren’t true?
Have you wasted any portion of your life looking at the life of another and desperately wishing for that life? You see someone on that cruise or at the beach and you do everything you can to do the same? Have you maxed out your credit cards trying to have the same stuff as your friend?
It’s easy to SAY we love God and we love others, but it’s something altogether different to actually DO that. Many of us are falling short. As believers, it’s up to us to allow the Holy Spirit to show us where we’re missing these marks and then make the course corrections necessary to get us back on the obedience track.
Let’s give it a try today. Let’s look over the list and ask God to reveal to us the places and ways we’ve strayed from it. Make note. Then let’s get to the correction phase. Do we have apologies to make? Amends to work on? No better time than the present to get started.
Love God well. Love others as well.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.