Freed to Focus on God and Others
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40, New International Version)
“Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.” (John 14:21, NIV)
At the sprawling green botanical garden in Lilongwe, Malawi, a young mother, child on hip and Bible in hand, paces back and forth in prayer.
I wonder what trouble brings this mother out here to pray. Is a crucial relationship in trouble? Is someone she cares for sick? Is her business failing? Or perhaps she is just out here spending time in prayer with the Lord.
A person can go out of their way to spend time with the Lord — and not just when their world is caving in. Perhaps she moved the focus from herself and the harried life of motherhood to steal away a few minutes to focus on God. If so, as the Lord renews her strength, she can face the world and be there for her family and others.
Christ’s top two commandments are to love the Lord and love others. Every other commandment simply details how to live this out.
How do you know that you love God? It turns out that obeying God can be an indicator of your love for Him. The true mark of your love for God is that it causes you to become more willing to do what He asks of you.
If you love God, you will care about what He cares about. You will want your thoughts and actions to be pleasing to Him.
And how do you measure your love for others? How you love yourself is the measure you will use to love others. You must put others before yourself if you are trying to truly love them. (Although, we also must remember to share the love of Christ with others, we need to spend time being filled with Him ourselves.)
As you focus on loving God and others, you will begin to experience the resurrected life of Christ in a very real way.
Respond and Pray
What areas of your life do you need to bring to the obedience of Christ? In what ways have you put yourself before others lately?
Consider this prayer. “Father, I desire to love You by my actions as well as my words. Help me to be fully yielded to You and to consider others better than myself. Amen.”