How do I Love my Neighbor?

by Drew Baum on April 05, 2021

If you are a follower of Christ, you probably already know that the Bible from Genesis to Revelation has many different commands that God has given His people to live by. In the Jewish faith they add many more to the list. In fact, some Jewish traditions have over 600! 

Jesus was asked by a Jewish scribe to identify the greatest commandment. In Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The Second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

Jesus was asked of which command was the greatest, and he gave us the second one as well.  This, of course, was intentional. The Gospel is not going to spread without us following both of these commandments. We won’t love our neighbor nor will we know how to love our neighbor without first loving the Lord our God with all our heart. Everything we do must start with the worship and love of God the Father. 

When we assess ourselves it doesn’t take long to realize this truth: We will not achieve anything worthy of the kingdom without our complete love and devotion to the Lord our God! As long as we are on this earth we will battle our sinful selfish desires. You see, our sin-filled self says, “I don’t want to put the effort to look out for my neighbor. I don’t have time to show love to them. If I have gospel conversations with them, it will be awkward, or I will say the wrong thing.” It takes time and energy to show Christ’ love to others. Let’s be honest. It can be hard and messy because we are all as they say, “a hot mess!” This is why Jesus knew to tell the Jewish scribe and us to start with the love of God first. 

The more we read scripture we see that our love of the Lord and others is actually what shows we truly are his followers. 1 John 4:7-12 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son in to the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 

Warren Wiersbe says, “If we love God, we will experience His love within and will express that love to others. We do not live by rules, but by relationships. A loving relationship to God enables us to have a loving relationship with others.” 

It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert, we all need relationships with others. We need to know that someone cares about us and loves us. As you read through the account of Jesus’ life on earth, you see how He cared for those who were hurting and sick. You also see that He served others. One of the ways He modeled this was by washing the disciples dirty feet. Jesus knew that we would have to do the messy work if we want to show love to others. 

As we all learn to minister to others through a pandemic, I think we will find that everyone has been effected in some way. People, maybe now more than ever, are realizing their need to know someone cares. 

I recently went prayer walking with some of our students in a neighborhood close to the church. We were just knocking on doors, checking on people, and asking them how we could pray for them. We had many people tell us how much it meant to them to know that someone cared to check on them. I have had conversations with people who have been mostly homebound due to the virus, and they have commented about how hard the isolation has been. My prayer is that as we all spend time with the Lord and learn to love him with all of our heart, and allow his love to pour through us to those around us. Take time to think about who the Lord has laid on your heart to show love to, let us all be reminded that we are “Saved to be sent!” 

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