That was our discussion in SS this week with the youth. Good one too!
We talked about some of the major differences in world religions and christianity, and how all others have such a huge list of do's and don't, and although our Bible is filled with "rules" or guidelines, all of them are easy to follow if we do two simple things. What is that you ask? Well...
We have to love God and love our neighbors. What a concept. God loved us first, so our desire whould be to willingly... did you get that WILLINGLY do anything for Him. Not because He demands it, but because we love Him so much.
Think of it like this... if we LOVE GOD so much, we want every breath we take to glorify Him... how can we sin? How can we willingly break God's heart.
What does it mean to be a Christ-follower? Two simple things. Love God, Love Others. You know... love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Ok, pop quiz! Who is your neighbor? You know, I've never really thought about it until this subject was discussed during our Relational Foundations retreat a few weeks ago. My closest neighbor, is my husband. WHAT? I'm serious... my next closest is my children. Then my family, extended family, church, and so on.... I guess I never stopped to realize my neighbor wasn't the "crazy lady" down the street (yes I do have to love her too... even if she does put stuffed animals in the trees outide)
So, loving God is the foundation of our faith. Loving God is a way of life too, not just something that you do on Sunday and Wednesdays.... People who love God will not put anything or anyone else above Him, nor will they disrespect Him. God can not be put in a box! If you limit your love for Him to just a few hours a week, you are missing out on SOOO much more!
And finally... we are able to love other people out of the overflow of God's love in our own lives. I know it's hard. You know there is always someone you just really wish God didn't want us to love. I know there are a few in my life... but I have found, if I love them, pray for them... really do it. God gives me a love for them I couldn't have on my own. Isn't He awesome!!!
This is a great way to think about it. If we love God, we will keep the first 4 Commandments in the Bible. If we love others (really love others) we will keep the last 6 Commandments. Isn't that just the coolest thing. Stop stressing about all the "thou shall or shall nots". Just love God completely, and love other's completely.... why do we make it all so hard?
Great quote used by Jon Vining in our conference a few weeks ago... Does the Jesus in me, love the Jesus in you? Hmmm think about that for a while!
So to sum it all up: Jesus clarified lifes two greatest priorities for each of us: Love God and Love Others.
Lord, I already love you, but help me to love You more. I know I can only love You more by spending time with You and with Your word. Continue to give me a hunger... and then feed me. The one I have the hardest time with, I loving other's. Especially Lord, those who have hurt me so badly, or hurt my family. Show me how to love even those, and to love the "neighbor's" in my home, in my family, in my church as much as those on the streets. Amen.