Love God, Love One Another
God is Love (1 John 4:8). Love is central to God’s character and who He is. If we follow His instructions and strive to develop His character, then the results would be prosperity, good health and peace. We show real love toward God when we truly worship and obey Him, allowing no other “gods,” idols, pictures, or anything else to come in His place, and always honoring His name daily. Christ summarized God’s law into the two great principles: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). If someone does something evil to us, perhaps saying mean things about us, or being rude to us, what are we to do? It may not be easy to not respond, for our carnal nature wants to retaliate, however, our thoughts should be on how God want us to behave. What does God want us to do? God does not want us to repay evil for evil. God wants us to let Him take care of the justice, which is why Romans 12:19 says “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.” Allow God to avenge any wrongdoing, for getting revenge is not our job. We are to use good to fight evil—just as Jesus did. Furthermore, God wants us to show the person love, which is why in Romans 12:21 it states, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” If we resort to paying back like for like, whether it is being rude or mean, returning evil with evil, we are being evil, and we have been overcome by evil. If instead, we show love by our actions, then we overcome the evil with good. Have we rejected what the Bible tells us, for God’s commandment teach us how to love our neighbor? 2 John 1:6 tells us “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments…”.
The first four commandments tell us how to love God, and the last five tells us God’s way of how to love each other. Romans 13:8-10 says “love is the fulfilling of the law;
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”; “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” With God’s way of loving your neighbor we learn how to give of ourselves to serve others, honoring one another above ourselves. Jesus gave us an example of this in the parable of the good Samaritan, (Luke 10:25-37). Are we to do a good deed to impress or be recognized rather than sincerity of heart? Our attitude must be sincere, clinging to what is good. Matthew 6:1-4 says “Be sure you do not do good things in front of others just to be seen by them…..” God wants good deeds done with Godly motivation, not selfish motivation. Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 13:3 “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”.
To love our neighbor, we must view every human being from God’s perspective, recognizing their worth and value. God’s foundation principle is that we are created in the image of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us create man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” The Apostle Paul made it very plain when he explained, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth…”Acts 17:26. John 3:16 tells us how God gave us His son out of love, and how Jesus was willing to give His life for every human being for out of His love for them. Every person from every nation of ‘every race’ throughout history was made in the image of God. If we would follow God’s principle of love, His truth would be alive in us and we would sincerely look out for the interests of others, loving your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus demonstrated to His disciples (by teaching and example) that keeping God’s commandments was simply an expression of love. He told His disciples “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34). The principle of loving our neighbors was not new, but Jesus’ amplification of that principle in His own perfect life shed a completely new light on the spiritual intent and depth of this commandment. In fact, part of this summary, Jesus was quoting God’s law directly from the Old Testament: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)! Jesus perfect example of love and service, as commanded by God, was demonstrated in His day-to-day life, whether in His constant teaching of the multitudes, His healing of the sick, His feeding of the hungry crowds, or in an act of humility, He was always giving of Himself.
It was in that perfect, understanding love that Jesus withdrew Himself occasionally from the multitude to rest, to meditate, or to pray, for He knew that only by keeping close to the Father and being an instrument in His hands could His human presence and teaching enrich the lives of others. This also allowed Him to release the words of love while on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). When we hurt, it can be easy to become bitter about what has happened. Our hurt can turn to a grudge, or to a desire for revenge, its like an aggravated injury. If we continue to stir up those feelings, they can fester like a bad wound and turn to hate, and then hate can turn into bitterness. When we let bitterness seep into our words, or hatred reflect through our actions, others are watching and they are being affected. How do you counteract those feelings? God gives us an easy method in handling offenses before infection sets in, He said “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.” “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;” Matthew 5:43-44. Don’t let so deep of hatred and a root of incurable bitterness grow in our hearts. You see, it takes the love of God’s character to help and serve your fellow human beings even when he has directly tried to harm you! The way of God and Jesus Christ is to love every human being. The true love of God is much greater than an emotion or feeling. It’s a commitment to care for the ultimate well-being of other people, no matter their color, party, religion, background, or how much they disagree with us. Jesus did not just act like He loved others, He did love others with a perfect love. Through God’s Holy Spirit within Him, He desired from the heart to love and serve His fellow beings for their highest good.
As followers of Jesus we should become surrendered to God so that Christ is actually living His life in us through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. For the Apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). It is Christ’s love, and His power in us that can keep the spiritual law of God, for Jesus Christ was and is obedient to God the Father. We are to have a deep spiritual love for one another. There is simply no room in this love for hate, envy, cruelty or unkindness. Jesus Christ is to be our “light,” and our “example”. Jesus’ entire life was a radiant light of love itself, and love is the fulfillment of God’s law.
In today’s society God’s law must be our “pattern” of life. We are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)—patterning our lives after Christ’s life as each day and year goes by. Our aim should be to affect each person with whom we come in contact with the love message Jesus gave us, even to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). Real, outgoing love looks out for other people’s best interests. “Love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). We must love others as Christ loved us, in that even though we were still sinners, He gave his life for us (Romans 5:8), anchored on a deep love for God. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people“. (1 Timothy 2:1), including those who may hate you and inequality performed by those that are in authority. Remember, God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” (Genesis 1:26), this was an image of Love.
May God help you to follow the example of His Son, through surrender and obedience, allowing the very character of God to be developed in you. And through your total surrender to let Christ live His obedient life within you and through the Holy Spirit, you may learn how to ‘Love Your Neighbor’. If we make that sincere effort with all our heart, the path to forgiveness, resolution, and true peace of mind becomes clear and well-lit. By Loving Others We Love God. For God’s true and glorious purpose for us is to become like Him, in our spirit and character. As we grow spiritually, God puts more and more of His godly nature within us. The love of God will never leave us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,” “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”