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Love God, Love People

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."  Mark 12:30-31 NIV

Photo courtesy of pixabay.The hashtag #LGLP is everywhere these days. It’s catchy and cool, and many Christians are using it on social media. But does it really do justice to the text it is supposed to represent?

Saying we love God and people is easy. But love is such a generic word. Without some qualifiers, the saying could mean I love God as much as I love my dog, apple pie, or a Starbucks latte on a crisp autumn morning. But the truth is, I do not love my dog or those other things the way Jesus says I am to love God.

And people? Well, I mostly love people, except the guy who cut me off on the freeway and the teenager who drives through my neighborhood with his music turned up loud. I definitely don’t love them like I love myself.

If Jesus meant the above kind of love, He would have said just that. But three of the gospels record Him saying much more. Jesus spells out the quality of love we should have for God and for people. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. With every fiber of our being, every thought that crosses our mind, and every ounce of our strength, we should love the Lord. That’s a deep, all-encompassing love.

Jesus says I am to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. I once had a woman say to me, “Well, that’s not hard. I hate myself.” Ouch. That’s not a quality kind of love for either herself or her neighbor.

The reality for all of us is that we do love ourselves, and we prove it every time someone says something that offends us. We will defend ourselves, we’ll see our point of view as the right one, and we’ll often go on the attack. But we rarely love those close to us as much as we love ourselves, much less our neighbor.

Examine the quality of your own love for the Lord and others. Then commit to learning to love the way Jesus commands.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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Natalie Ames

Natalie Ames is a competitive ballroom dancer who shows up on the dance floor of life as a gifted teacher, leader, and writer. When she is not waltzing, she is writing, discipling women, and creating resources for others.