Do you know what the two greatest precepts are? Matthew 22:37 teaches:
37: Now He averred to him, “You shall be loving the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole comprehension.
38: This is the great and foremost precept.
39: Yet the second is like it: `You shall be loving your nigh one as yourself.’
Merriam-Webster definition of averred: to declare positively (Found here)
Merriam-Webster definition of precept: a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action (Found here)
When you break these two commandments down they mean love God with all of your ability and love those who are in your space as you would love yourself, love your neighbor. Your neighbor is someone who drives next to you in traffic, someone who lives near you, someone who works in the same space as you, someone who is sitting next to you in a plane, train, boat, or bus.
In order to love those who are in your space as yourself you must first love yourself. What does it to mean to love your neighbor as yourself? At most of humanity’s core lies the selfish gene, me… me… me… When we integrate the love your neighbor as yourself gene life gets better for humanity. There would be no more wars, no more police brutality against people and minorities, no more stealing, no more killing, etc.
We live in a free will world so we can only imagine at this moment in time a world like that, but it’s coming. In the new heaven and earth we will see this in full effect when God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the entire heavenly host are revealed to rule. That means the old order of things will pass away, no more separate governments only one. (Revelations 21:1)
How to love yourself
In order to love yourself you must treat yourself with respect and dignity. You are the steward of your body and you are called to treat yourself with decency. This means not doing things to yourself that can cause you harm whether in the short term and long term. Say no to suicide, that is harm to yourself. If you we’re to shoot and kill a dog, cat, turtle in the U.S. and authorities found out what would happen to you? Jail time and a fine, what about when someone kills another human being? If the motive was anything other that self defense you’re looking at many years to life in prison.
Now what about self harm? You are called not to harm yourself regardless of your circumstance. Yes you have free will to do as you think best but sometimes decision making can be jaded and influenced by others and our environment. What about sex? Get married, God created marriage for man and woman. that in part is what marriage is for. (Proverbs 18:22) #besmartinchoosing
Learn how to say “no” even to yourself
Everything we want isn’t always the best for ourselves. Prime example… a two pound bag of Twizzlers or your favorite candy. Eat it all in one day or ration it over time? Our eyes and other senses are usually like more… more… more, but we have to be smart about the amount we consume at any one given point. #moderation is key. Too much sugar in a short amount of time can lead to diabetes. I don’t want that, do you you? Too much alcohol can lead to drunkenness and diabetes. Too much food and not enough exercise to counter it can lead to being over weight. Being overweight can lead to health issues you don’t need. Sometimes we have to tell ourselves no for the greater good of ourselves. #discipline
Have you ever thought “I hate myself”? Some of us have said that because of a need of attention, have you ever felt like nobody cares? I have and I see God cares for me, he cares for you too. Look at this:
8: yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ died for our sakes. (Romans 5:8)
Think from an eternal perspective this act of love. Did you know God raised him from the dead? #powerful
Love is a two way street
When you love your neighbor and your neighbor loves you synergy is created that God intended. Do you know that there are attributes (characteristics) to love?
Check this out:
4: Love is patient, is kind, Love is not jealous. Love is not bragging, is not puffed up,
5: is not indecent, is not self-seeking, is not incensed, is not taking account of evil,
6: is not rejoicing in injustice, yet is rejoicing together with the truth,
7: is forgoing all, is believing all, is expecting all, is enduring all.
8: Love is never lapsing: yet, whether prophecies, they will be discarded, or languages, they will cease, or knowledge, it will be discarded. (1 Corinthians 13:4-9 CLV)
Love takes work and we can do it. Love God, love yourself so you can love your neighbor as yourself. All made possible because of Jesus. The two greatest precepts stack up well and still apply.
How do we love God? By looking for Him and following his commands. If he teaches us and says don’t do “a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h….” we should voluntarily follow his commands. Remember we live in a world where we can do what we want. If you want to go to school today you can, if you want to go to work you can find work or start your own business you can. If you want to spend time with family and friends you can. Apart of loving God is learning about who He was, Is, and will be. This can be done through reading the bible and is made possible by Jesus. (John 3:16)
Loving God means sacrificing what we want to do and doing what he wants us to do, keep his commands (Exodus 20) God also introduces us to his son Jesus in Matthew 3:17.
17:And lo! a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved, in Whom I delight.”
Mark 9:7 teaches us:
7: And there came a cloud overshadowing them. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the Beloved. Hear Him!”
God is asking us to listen to his son Jesus. Jesus is asking us to do.
The word teaches us he is the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in it. Genesis 1:1.
I will talk about this more Lord willing in the up coming posts.