The Second Greatest Commandment
A Simple Guideline – Part II
Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:12-14 (NLT)
Key Verse: Matthew 7:12 (NLT) “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
We started our study of the simple guideline of the Golden Rule in yesterday’s devotional. To live this guideline out does not take a theological degree, but it does take brutal honesty.
In every situation that comes our way when dealing with people, we can answer the question: how would I want them to treat me in this situation? The first thing is to remember to ask the question.
It is so easy to simply do what comes naturally, which usually is far from how we want others to treat us.
Following Jesus means to rebuild our routines and our habits so that they are consistent with His teachings. We may not think of it this way, but how we talk to others and how we treat others are habits that we have formed.
We sometimes form our habits from the behavior of one or both of our parents. If one of them reacted with anger to other people’s failures, then that can become our habit of dealing with others.
It takes work to change a habit but when we decide to follow Jesus, it becomes a necessity in our lives.
Look at the Apostle John’s words in his first epistle:
Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. (1 John 3:9-12 NLT)
Before Jesus transforms us, most of us have formed sinful habits that we must break and rebuild. Many of these habits are how we treat others that hurt us or frustrate us.
Remember, Jesus said loving others as we love ourselves is as equally important as loving God. That means we cannot think we love God and yet treat others in ways that we would never want someone to treat us.
The Apostle John’s words encourage us to examine what is really going on in our lives and relationships. These are guidelines that tell us whether we are truly a child of God or are deceiving ourselves by calling ourselves Christ-followers.
The key question is, are you still making a practice of sin in your life?
Yes, John also said that if we sin, we have an advocate in Jesus to plead our case (1 John 2:1). So, he is not saying that a true Christ-follower never sins, but he is saying that a true Christ-follower has broken the habit of sinning.
Read these verses carefully and judge yourself by them. If necessary, change your habits while there is time.
Father, I want my life to conform to the biblical image of Jesus. Please grant me wisdom and courage to live what I believe. In Jesus’s Name, amen.