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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Considering How Well I Love

In review of Mark 12:30-31 it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Love God with all you have, and love others like yourself. There are no greater commands than these.

What this means to me:
I am to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to ‘Love others as much as I love myself.’ There is no other commandments greater than these.

Today's passage comes from the latter half of Mark chapter 12 in which Jesus answered one of the teachers of the religious law question about which of the commandments is most important?

Jesus replied with, the most important commandment is this: 'The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandments are greater than these.

The teacher replied, "well said, I know this is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law." Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said, 'you are not far from the kingdom.'

Life is about loving; loving God and people.  There is no form of outward expression or actions that can substitute for these.

Just yesterday, I started to investigate the first of five factors that influence my identity. First was related to knowing that I have been made wonderfully complex and yet full of flaws. Flaws and all, I just need to embrace who I am and who God made me to be.

Today, I’ll look at the second and next factor that influences my identity, and it’s related to my connections.  Connections give my life purpose, meaning, and ultimately my identity.  Jesus said that the most important thing I should do is love God and love other people (Mark 12:30-31). What I’m learning is that life is not about my accomplishments or acquisitions, my popularity or prestige. It’s all about how well I love.

There seem to be three problems that can keep me from loving fully as God intended:

First, we are all imperfect. Because of this, there are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people. Sin disconnects us. Adam and Eve had the first broken relationship and disconnected themselves from God and from each other. We’ve been excusing ourselves and accusing the people we love ever since.

Second, the more disconnected we are, the more fearful we become. We crave intimacy, but we fear vulnerability. We crave acceptance, but we fear rejection.

Lastly, while we may not have had a say in the hand we were dealt in life, God sent his son as our Savior to transform our cards into a winning hand. No matter what connections I’ve made in life, I will be held responsible for what you do with my connections today.

So, will I let God affect my connections? Will I trust him for my future in spite of a difficult past? Will I nurture, protect, and build relationships such that God is more fully glorified in my life?

Today, with God’s help, I will resolve to build healthy and not hurtful relationships.