I’m the youngest of three girls. It is clear to say that we are all three completely unique individuals… And yet there are some similarities as well…
Reference: v.39 “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'” (NIV Bible)
Explore: I’m the youngest of three girls. It is clear to say that we are all three completely unique individuals. For example, when it comes to money we all function differently: one likes to spend their money on heaps of cheap items; one likes to spend money on just a few really expensive things; and one doesn’t like to spend money at all! And yet there are some similarities as well. Apparently I pull very similar facial expressions to one sister and if I look at my other sisters mouth structure it’s seriously like I’m looking in a mirror. So while we are different in one way we are clearly related in other ways.
So, why am I elaborating on our family dynamics? In this passage we read of the two greatest commandments. The first is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ But the second one – to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ – is said to be ‘like it’. One thing they have in common is the word ‘love’ however I think it goes deeper than that. I think that the similarity between the two commandments is actually in the way we live out the commands. We can not love the Lord without loving our neighbour, therefore the second command is intrinsically connected to the first.
Application: Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we perceive as ‘loving the Lord our God’ that we end up spending all our time attending church, praying individually, reading the Bible, and discussing theological
issues. If we never get to the point of putting that love into practice by loving others then we have totally missed the way we should express our love to God. Now, don’t get me wrong, developing our spiritual side is very important, but we can not separate our personal relationship with God and our physical expression of serving Him. When we love others we are in turn loving God. And so both commandments can not be separated. If we want to obey God then we need to look at our personal relationship with Him as well as look at how we act towards others.
Prayer: Lord, you showed us how to love by living here on earth and being a true example of how we should walk with God. You studied the scriptures and spent time in personal prayer but you also loved people and served them. May we continue our faith journeys by following your lead. Amen.
How interconnected do you think these two commandments are? Do you find you have seasons when your personal development overrides your servanthood and vice versa?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.