Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Matthew 22:34-40 "The Greatest Commandment, Part 2"

Read Matthew 22:34-40.

"Love your neighbor as yourself." NIV

Like the "love" expressed in verse 37 that is an agape love - one of devotion that is of the will, this is the same kind of love in verse 39. It's not a phileo love that is a friendship love. But a love of the will and complete commitment. That's a tall order because when you look at who your neighbor is, it's basically anyone you come in contact with. These are the people living and breathing around you. Therefore, all men and women are my neighbors. And by choice, I am to show them not just a friendly love, but a committed love of devotion.

How do we do that? How do we give that kind of devotion to so many people? It's easy to love the believers, but all the lost as well? For a sanguine it may be possible, but for a melancholy choleric like me it does not come naturally. The only way I know how it can happen is through the eyes and heart of God.

We need to see people as God sees them -- His lost children who need a Savior. Each of us are uniquely created in His image and for the purpose of companionship with Him. Some choose to follow that path while others walk away from their Creator. In absence of receiving love and communion directly from the Lord, He wants us to become Christ-with-skin-on and take His love to them. It would be like if one of my children ran away from home, I would pray that someone would take them in and love them with a love I couldn't give them. That they would wrap their arms around my child since my arms will not reach them. And hopefully, they would lead my child back to me.

Lord, give me eyes to see those around me who have chosen to leave You. Help me to love them with Your love and guide them back to Your gentle arms.

Further Thoughts:
  1. List ways we can show God's love to people we come in contact with every day. Note: How did Jesus show love?
  2. When we think about our neighbors, we need to start in our own home and then work outward. Who do you need to show the love of God to? How will you do that?
  3. Based on this Scripture's definition of a neighbor, does it include our enemies? If so, how do we show them God's love?

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