This morning I was listening to a song when the lyrics struck me. The line was “the only thing that matters is how we have loved”. Is that really the only thing that matters? At first I shuddered at the apparent lack of biblical truth in this song. While this is not true if we are looking at all of biblical and human history, what about if the song is referring to the individual? The only thing that truly matters is that we have loved? And if that is true, just exactly what are we to love? That is not really clear in the song. However, it is very clear in Mark 12, verses 29-31
29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[e] This is the first commandment.[f] 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We are to love God and we are to love our neighbors (all people that we come in contact with). Jesus tells us these are the first and second of all commandments. If we follow these commandments all of the others will follow naturally, because they show us how to (or how not to) love God or people.
We hear an awful lot about the second commandment these days. American Christians are totally focused on helping the poor, needy, hungry, and destitute. And that is great! I think that is awesome. But what about that first commandment? How do we love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength? I John gives us a bit of a clue…
I John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
We show our love to God by walking as Jesus walked. By doing our best to obey ALL of the commandments in God’s Word…not just a few. We are to live righteous lives. Pure lives. Holy lives. Not in fellowship with the world, but in fellowship with God. In prayer. Not drawing attention to ourselves except for reasons of being salt and light. And, yes, in loving others.
So, I guess loving is what it comes down to while living our lives. If we love God, our whole lives will be transformed by that love. It will affect not only how we treat others, but will affect what we say, read, listen to, and wear. How we react, respond, and our tone of voice. It affects who we hang out with, what movies we go to, and what is on our ipods. It alters how we treat our parents, our siblings, church leaders, and police officers. It impacts our interests, passions, and hobbies. It changes our conversations, how we drive, and who we date (or marry). It affects if we read our Bibles, go to a church that teaches the Truth, or take the time to pray. And it affects our commitments…to our families, our churches, and our communities. Loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength will change me completely. Loving God (first) and loving others (second) is truly what matters most when it comes to how we live our lives each day.