The Second Greatest Commandment
It’s Harder than the First to Keep – Part IV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-40 NLT
Key Verses: Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT) Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Another phrase that Jesus uses in our Key Verses: “A second is equally important.”
Look at the word: “equally” that the New Living Translation uses. Other translations use the phrasing that the second command is “like” the first one… which one could understand as even a stronger statement.
Either way, think about what Jesus is saying. Loving people around you is just as important as loving God!
If this surprises you, look at some other scriptures: 1 John 4:19:
…If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar…whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Also 1 John 4:7-8:
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
And finally, 1 John 4:11:
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
I hope these scriptures penetrate your heart and causes you to understand how important the second command is. And though the second command is harder to keep than the first command, let’s work at it with all our hearts, souls and minds! If these two commands are equal, then they deserve equal effort on our part to live in obedience to them. God deserves our love and many people in our lives do not, but we must love them as God loves us.
If you come to me and tell me that you are having trouble feeling love for God in the same way you feel love for your spouse, I would tell you that love for God is different than other love in our lives. Look at 1 John 4:17:
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Note these words, “because we live like Jesus here in this world.” Our love for God is all about how we act rather than how we feel. Feelings may come, but our actions are the evidence of our love for God.
Jesus loves every person so much that He went to the cross to die for their sins. We must love everyone as well, if we want to love God. That does not mean we feel love for everyone, that is not necessary. We must “act” in love toward all people… that is necessary!
Father, I am willing to love all people with my actions. Please remind me and grant me strength as I walk with You. In Jesus’s Name, amen.