“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.”
Love your neighbor as yourself.
I have often talked about the deep friendship that existed between Jonathan and David and have pondered the implications of what it would look like, what it would mean to love someone as you love yourself. This concept that was lived out by Jonathan and David is completely foreign to the world today.
The relationship that Jonathan and David had was completely selfless. To love someone as you love yourself literally means putting that person first every time. It means honesty and integrity and respect.
I have often thought of how treasured and cherished a relationship like this would be in the 21st century. Such a concept is extremely difficult to comprehend and is also extremely difficult to come by in the world today.
But what I think what few of us truly realize is that each and every one of us is called to life like this. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is written loud and clear. Plain as day. But the implication of this verse has been skewed so completely that it no longer has the intended meaning.
We are given two very important and vital commands as Christ Followers: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. You would think that with these two commands put so close together that we would understand the magnanimity of what the Lord was saying but we do not.
Over and over in 1 John the Lord commands us to love. To love as the Lord has loved us and to love because the Lord loved us even when we were still in sin. This love that the Lord speaks of is God-given. It is not a thing that we can come by on our own and if we try it is affection in its most intentional form.
We have been called to love our neighbor as ourselves with a God-given pure and honest love that can receive no retribution for its purity. It will be persecuted and it will be condemned because the truth that the Lord’s love gives will blind the world with its brilliance. This love will not be accepted and it will not be appreciated by most but it is the desire of the Lord for his perfect love to be made complete on Earth as it is in Heaven.
The gospel is offensive. The Lord so loved us, that he gave his only son…that he so loved us. Love is offensive. Darkness will do all in its power to snuff out love, to prevent it from forming, and tear it apart when it has been established. The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy but the Lord came so that we may have life and have it to the full.
To love as the Lord has loved us is life and it is having it to the full.
1 John 3:11 – “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
1 John 3:16 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
1 John 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:23 – “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
1 John 4:7 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know GOd, because God is love.”
1 John 4:10 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:16 – “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
“And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
1 John 4:21