37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. - Matthew 22:37-40
As if loving our God with all of our emotions, with all of our passions and desires, and with all of our intellectual abilities isn’t not challenging enough, the second commandment pushes us even further. Love your neighbor as yourself.
So, exactly what does this mean? I love myself by taking care of my needs and thinking about myself all the time - from what I want to eat for breakfast to how I will exercise my body. I plan my schedule around what I need and want to do today, I think about my feelings, and make choices that please me or validate me. I take into consideration all my experiences when making decisions - from my past hurts to my challenging day, and I choose what feels best to me. I spend a great deal of time thinking about me. So when Jesus calls us to love others as we love ourselves, that’s a pretty challenging command. I don’t think about anyone as much as I think about myself. My heart is inherently selfish. This is not referring to just doing something kind for others - this is challenging us to do that thing for others that rubs right up against what we want to do. It’s not just handing over the remote to our husbands and letting them choose the channel tonight, it’s remaining humble and understanding their difficult day when they come home from work snapping at us. On my own, it’s impossible to consistently put others’ needs before my own - the majority of the time, I don’t even understand the other person’s needs on my own, much less prioritizing them over mine.
There is no mistake that God’s first commandment is to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. When we place Him first, and we focus all of our energy on loving Him, He transforms our selfish heart into a tender and sacrificial heart capable of loving others. When we place Him first, we no longer need to seek validation from others, we no longer need others to be kind or loving toward us in order for us to love them. He is enough for us. He fills us up so that we can pour out His selfless love to others.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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