Reading: John 14: 23-24
When asked by the teacher of the Law what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded with two and they both had to do with love. The first was to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is a tall order. In my mind the Word ‘all’ means 100% of the time with 100% of my being. I can certainly love God a lot most of the time, but all? The second was to love your neighbor as self but soon became love neighbor as I first loved you. In the first form the love was a human love. When Jesus added “as I first loved you”, it took it up a notch. Jesus loved all people all of the time. There is that ‘all’ word again.
In today’s passage, Jesus reveals one of the reasons we are to love God. When we love God, we obey God. If this is the choice we make and the path we try to walk daily, then the second command becomes easier. Jesus promises that when we obey and follow Him out of love, then He will come and dwell in our hearts. It is a much deeper connection to God when all we do is done out of that love that now dwells in our heart as the Spirit leads and guides us in living love out. It is miles beyond trying to love God and neighbor because that’s what the Law or other parts of the Bible says we are supposed to do.
And in reality we struggle at times to love God with all that we are. We drift, we doubt, things don’t go our way, we get too busy. We also have a hard time loving that guy or a girl like that. We are unique people and sometimes another’s uniqueness is hard for us to understand or to be around. The goods news, though, is that when we fall short of ‘all’, it is not the end. Not even close. Part of “as I first loved you” is His never-ending promise of love. It is a love that wipes away our failure and covers it with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Whether through prayer, time in the Word, in worship, or any other means that reconnects us to God, we can again walk in His love, feel His Spirit dwelling in our hearts, and again begin to walk seeking to love God with all that we are and to love others as He first and still loves us. 🙂