Journal Entry ~ 06/16/18

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. - James 2:8

We are told multiple times throughout scripture that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is nothing greater than this commandment. So, this means when we show partiality, we are violating this command because we are not showing God’s love to others. 

It’s important to note that modern culture has taken a hold of this command and shifted its meaning to focus on ourselves. We’ve all heard the phrase, “you can’t love others until you love yourself first.”  This isn’t the point of God’s great commandments to us at all. He calls us to focus first on Him, and secondly on others. Love of self comes naturally for us - we have no problem catering to our own needs, defending our own position or our own self-righteousness. We are constantly operating from a place where we seek our own greater comfort, security, peace. In fact, we often believe the problems we experience in life are the result of other people’s sins against us. What pushes us outside of our comfort zone is to consider what would make others feel best, what would allow others to experience security and peace, what would leave those in my life feeling the greatest love?

Loving others as ourselves means ranking others’ needs as our own. Just as we consider our feelings in a dispute, this command calls us to operate from a place s where we consider the other person as important as we consider ourselves. It not only means giving in to their point of view or position and allowing them to “win,” but it also means creating a situation where anyone who has an encounter with us walks away feeling loved. You see, James isn’t just calling us to love those people we interact with on a regular basis as ourselves, he is calling us to love *everyone* as ourselves, to not discriminate against anyone - this includes the waitress serving your meal, the boy bagging your groceries, the driver who cuts you off in traffic, the homeless man sleeping in the alley. Do they all walk away from you feeling more loved as a result of their interactions with you?

Far too often, it is easy to simply turn our back and walk away than to go out of our way to demonstrate God’s love to the world around us.  But that’s what He calls us to do. The God who created this entire universe is sovereign over it all, which means He is sovereign over every single interaction He has orchestrated in your life. Don’t minimize even one of the them to think He doesn’t see or care how you respond in any particular situation. He does. And He calls us to respond to all in love, without any partiality. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗


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