Summary by Jesus: How to Live
It’s just too much.
I can’t do it all.
Serve. Forgive. Stay humble. Be holy. Give thanks. Practice hospitality. Give. Listen to hurting people. Be a good Samaritan. Share the gospel. Seek justice. Go to the world. Etc.
The commands, admonitions, expectations can be overwhelming.Gratefully, Jesus simplified it all. He gave us His holy summary.
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)
Simplified: We live by loving.
But not so simple.
Jesus says we really just need to do two things and we will fulfill all the laws and commandments. If we love God with everything in us, above all else, and if we love the people around us as much as we love ourselves, we will inevitably be living out the requirements of true followers of our Lord.
Truly, not so simple.
Love God with ALL my heart, soul, mind, strength. Love Him more than anything or anyone else. Throw all I am into loving Him. Surely it takes a lifetime to grow into that kind of living and loving.
Love others as I love myself. We do tend to love ourselves. We focus on caring for, providing for, preserving, satisfying ourselves. Jesus says we are to love the people around us, and around the world, in the same way. Surely it takes a lifetime to grow into that kind of living and loving.
Then Jesus added one more requirement to His summary: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
And how did Jesus love? Oh, He just gave His life for us. Because He loved us, He died for us. Seriously, that’s how we are to love?
Maybe for my family, I would lay down my life. Maybe for dear friends I would make the ultimate sacrifice. But for all people?
Jesus knows our limitations.He knows we are dust: “…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)
He knows we are needy: “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see…. But as for me, I am poor and needy…” (Psalm 40:12, 17)
He knows we are helpless: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Gratefully, He has made provision.“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:16, 26)
This Spirit—the Holy Spirit—lives in us and through us. He gives us comfort, encouragement, courage, wisdom, power….He teaches us and helps us, convicts us of sin and convinces us of God’s love for us, fills us with peace and joy and hope.
And He loves through us.So how do we live as Jesus wants us to live?
Simple….We love God with our whole being.We love people (all people) as we love ourselves and as Jesus loved us....but impossible.
So Jesus made a way: His Spirit living and loving in us and through us.
That’s my prayer every morning: “Lord, live and love through me today.
What about you? How has the Spirit enabled you to love?
C2014 Judy Douglass
Photo image: Sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz, Netherlands