Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©
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 22:37-40 (NIV))
First look up and then look out.
We are to focus our love in that order. We are to love God first and foremost and then love each other as we would love ourselves. Jesus did not tell us to look in. He did not tell us to love ourselves. It is human nature to do that. In fact, we have a tendency to place ourselves first, even before God. The words that Jesus used to answer the question are very difficult to fulfill for this very reason. We have a tendency to do exactly opposite of what God desires.
Isn’t that ironic?
We are to do exactly opposite of what comes natural. Perhaps this is due to the sinful nature that we inherited as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. What we know we should do, we do not do. What we know we should not do, we have a tendency to do. Paul even faced this very dilemma.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!
(Romans 7:21 – 25 (NIV))
We are to establish our priorities in love. We are to turn our back on the way that the world says we should love. We must love God first and we must love our neighbor as ourself. Just who is our neighbor?
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29-37 (NIV))
Go and do likewise!