If you have read the New Testament, you know that Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment, after loving God, is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The idea of loving our neighbor is beautiful to think about so long as it remains an idea. But the concrete reality of loving our neighbor strips the beauty away.
It is a astounding commandment, if we are to take it seriously. For us to live this out something supernatural must happen in our souls. Our natural, carnal man is focused on self-preservation. It’s focused on comfort, happiness, personal reward and enjoyment.
If God is not the love of our lives, there is no way that we will truly love our neighbor as ourselves. Something happens when you experience the love of God and then begin to love God in return.
You begin to love what God loves. What does God love? Who does God love?
- He loves the foster child
- He loves the addict trying to find freedom
- He loves the lonely
- He loves the couple going through a divorce
- He loves the woman who has had an abortion
- He even loves those who don’t believe in him
The dilemma is that we either love certain things instinctively, or we don’t. No one has to command me to kiss my wife, eat tacos, cheer for the Dodgers, or take a nap. I love those things instinctively.
But I don’t love liver. I don’t love traffic. I don’t love the SF Giants…and you cannot command me to love them. How can we love what we don’t love?
It requires a change of heart. This is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit.
I want you to see this: For the disciple, for the follower of Jesus, loving our neighbor must be a priority.
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35)
The problem is we often don’t feel like loving our neighbor, much less our enemies. Jesus is not teaching us to love our neighbors when we get that feeling.
Sometimes you may not feel like loving someone. You may not feel any sympathy or compassion. We demonstrate our love for God when we love others with our actions, regardless of our feelings. God will often provide the love we need to feel when we act before we feel.
We pray and ask God to help us to see, to hear, and to feel what he does. Allow our hearts to be impacted by what touches his heart.
What does it look like to love your neighbor?
⁃ Cooking a meal for someone who is sick
⁃ Visiting someone who is shut in, nursing home, or hospital
⁃ Fee babysitting for a single mom
⁃ Helping someone move
⁃ Giving someone a ride to church
⁃ School supplies for a family that is struggling
⁃ Tutoring a kid who needs help at school
⁃ A listening ear for someone confused
⁃ Compassion, understanding for a family with a child who has special needs
⁃ Patience and kindness for someone who is struggling, instead of being demanding
Today’s Challenge: Before this day is over take action to show someone God’s love. Love requires action…not just sympathetic feelings. Jesus didn’t just feel sorry for us, he took action. Love is our motivation.
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