What are your core values? What defines the way you live your life and the decisions you make?
One day a wealthy young lawyer approached Jesus and asked Him a serious question designed to trap the Lord, as lawyers are want to do.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
Jesus, in His earthly ministry, was the greatest of all rabbis or teachers. He employed a rabbinic principle that tied two scriptures together using a word they shared when teaching the greatest commandments.
The phrase “and you shall love” is translated from the Hebrew word v’ahavtah. The Lord is contrasting the two commandments to show how they are similar. Just as we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind (or might), so too are we to love our neighbor.
Believers are to love God when the good times roll and when life isn’t going our way. Loving the Lord is not as easy when the going gets rough.
The same is true of people. Loving people we get along with is not difficult. Loving enemies and the people that rub us the wrong way, that’s hard.
Jesus put it this way: “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
If the last year and a half has shown anything, it has demonstrated that people are not ready to give up their lives. Yet, we are to love the Lord even if He takes our life.
“Yet for your sake we are killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Psalm 44:22).
Jesus taught that those who love their lives would lose them, and those who hate their lives will gain them, and this was true of the early church and the church in parts of the world today.
Just as there are times when we shall need to give our lives in service to God, there are times when we will need to give our lives for others. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
How can we love God with all our mind(or might)? Might refers to our physical strength, our mental strength, and even our financial strength.
When we love God with our might, we use our time, talent, and treasure in service to Him; we lay up treasure in heaven instead of here on earth.
“Sell everything you own and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22).
We must be careful not to use our might in service to self through laying up treasure on earth. Just as we are to use our strength to serve God, we are also to serve others.
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets
Jesus stated that He is the vine, and we are the branches. In the same way, the two greatest commandments inform us how to view all the others.
The Lord didn’t teach us to discard all the Law and the Prophets but to understand how they are connected. If we love God, we won’t worship idols. If we love our neighbor, we won’t steal from him.
We are watching our world be divided by hatred and it is getting worse by the day. The only solution is God’s love. When we love people in the same way we are to love God, society can only improve.