Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36–40, NIV.
Isn’t it ironic that the two greatest commandments are not found in Exodus 20? However, these two great commandments that Jesus declares encapsulate the 10 Commandments.
The first four laws given in Exodus 20 are to strengthen our relationship with God and the remaining six laws demonstrate how we are to interact with our neighbor.
There is a Greater Love
We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Last week, as I was holding my daughter, I said, “I love you so much, because God first loved us.” When those words came out of my mouth, it was like I understood God’s love on a deeper level than before and I became so grateful all over again. The 10 commandments teach us a lot about love.
None of the 10 Commandments tell us to love ourselves, which is contrary to what the world teaches.
2 Timothy 3:1–2 accurately states, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud…” This is not to say we are to despise ourselves, scripture teaches against that, but the law teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Love Is More Than A Feeling
Our culture refers to love as a feeling. However, in Biblical culture, love is more than a feeling and it is represented as an action. We are commanded to love without restraint.
No one feels like loving their enemy. In fact, loving your enemy fights against the DNA of our flesh, making this act of love supernatural.
The more I love God, spend time in His presence by praying and reading His word, the more I love people. When my heart is filled with the love of God, little annoyances and petty arguments no longer weigh on my spirit, rather, they are not cumbersome at all. I desire to love others the way God loves me; He is faithful, long-suffering, rich in mercy, patient, and kind.
If there is a grievance in your family or in a relationship, pray that God’s love would be shed abroad in your heart and that He would bring restoration to the broken places. God’s love can heal, restore, set free, and save.
Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” This is powerful, but a difficult command to live by. Just like the old song goes, “To be like Jesus… on earth I long, to be like Him.”
Prayer: Lord, help me to love you with every aspect of my life and every part of my being. I do not want You to just be my number one, but I desire for You to be my only one. Help me to love like you love and teach me how to love those who hate and persecute me. Let me see beyond peoples’ hardened exterior so I can grasp the pain that encumbers them.
Scriptures about God’s love:
- John 15:13
- 1 John 3:1
- Zephaniah 3:17
- Psalm 86:15
- Ephesians 2:4-5
- Romans 5:5
- John 3:16
- Galatians 2:20
- Psalm 136:26
- Romans 5:8
- Romans 8:37-39
- Isaiah 54:10
- 1 John 4:7-11