With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind - Love

photo by leighann-renee

photo by leighann-renee

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 22: 36-40

What comes to mind when you hear the word -love? Some of us think of warm fuzzy feelings. Some think of chocolate or other favorite treat. Some of us may think of someone. Love is a choice. It’s an action.

My pastor often talks about EGRs. That’s people in whom “extra grace is required”. He goes on to say if you don’t know an EGR then perhaps you are one. Of course, this brings a lot of head nodding and laughter. But truth be told we all know people that we feel some extra grace is required to be around. (And we may very well be one of those EGRs to some other folks.)

I thank Jesus every day that He gave the extra grace required for me and you for salvation! He loved us while we were still sinners. He loved all mankind KNOWING that most wouldn’t give Him a second thought as to the gift of salvation He paid for us.

The greatest commandments are at the top of this post. Love God with your whole being and love people like you love yourself. Sounds simple. Sounds easy. But is it?

When we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it’s a little harder to practice the choice, the action of love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (English Standard Version)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (New International Version)

Just being patient and kind is hard enough but then add in not to be envious and don’t brag! If that’s not the most of it, love is not proud or rude or irritable or resentful nor keeps a record of wrongs. Love isn’t glad when evil happens, but instead love rejoices with the truth. Love protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.

That, my friend, is hard to do! But God (two of my favorite words) doesn’t leave us alone to do all that! He gives us the Holy Spirit to live IN us. And with God, nothing is impossible! Hallelujah!

How will the lost and dying world - let’s be more specific - how will our family member or friend or coworker ever know our Jesus’ salvation unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them. What about the believer - our family member or friend or coworker - how with they come to know the healing power of forgiveness unless we LOVE them? Jesus loves them.

Yes, Jesus loves sinners. Where in the world did we get the idea that once someone is saved they are suppose to be “perfect”? Just before Jesus was betrayed by Judas He told ALL of the other eleven disciples that they all would abandon Him. And they did. After they had given up and went back to fishing, there was Jesus on the shore waiting on them with breakfast cooked - loving them.

Without love, we’re just a clanging cymbal. Without love, we’re nothing.

You’ve heard the old adage that “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It’s true and the only way to show folks that you care is to love them…and for some a little “extra grace is required.”