In line with the desire to make our walk with the Lord more practical, let’s look at the second most important commandment…..Love your neighbour as yourself. Most of us have heard these words many times, but have we really understood what Jesus meant? In order to appreciate His command, we need to see how it is that God intended us to love others.
Before the fall, Genesis tells us that Adam was originally created in the ‘likeness’ of God. His heart or nature was the same as God’s. He was able to commune and fellowship directly with God. At that time, Adam focused on God as he “ate from the tree of life. This meant total dependence on God.
After the fall, Adam’s heart (nature), changed and became one which was now ‘self-centered’ and no longer ‘God centered’. If we compare this scripture with that in Corinthians, we can see it is impossible to ‘love our neighbour’ the way God really intended us to.
As human beings, the love that we are prepared to share with others is based on certain conditions: “I will love you if you will love me”.
The love we have for others differs according to our relationship with that particular person. For example, the love we have for our parents is different to the love we have for our (blood) brothers and sisters. The love we show towards our families is different to that which we show to our friends or other believers.
As a result of us being born in ‘the image and likeness of Adam, we have all inherited the ‘Adamic nature’ and are only released from it when, by God’s grace, we become truly born of water and of the Spirit. Therefore, our human love is born out of a self-centered nature filled with pride and arrogance. We will be prepared to love others according to the degree our pride allows; for example: – Those who are closest to us, we feel happier about loving because we know them better. The less inconvenient it is for us, the more we will love. Our human love is conditional and we will only share it under conditions we deem as ‘fitting’.
By God’s grace, His love is not based on any conditions, so He freely loves us all, expecting nothing in return. If God’s love was as ‘fussy’ as our human love – only certain people would qualify to enter the kingdom. As it is we all have the opportunity of entering the Kingdom of God by receiving the gift of salvation. It is God’s heartfelt desire that all come to knowledge of Him and receive salvation.
Paul said it was Christ that lived through him. This is the example that Jesus desires us to follow. Of what use is it if the managing director of a secular company issues instructions to his managers and they respond by simply continuing with their own decisions not obeying ‘head office’?
The results would be equally damaging if the children of the Lord behaved the same way. God needs obedience from His children so that His will may be achieved through them. If our emotions affect our obedience to God, His work through us is hampered. Imagine, for instance, the Holy Spirit telling us to share some words with a certain person and we disobey simply because we don’t like the ‘look’ of that person.
God’s work is hindered daily because of our ‘feelings’. Our human emotions tend to be biased towards our inherited self-centered nature and restrict the depth to which God can use us. If we could be as Paul said, “It is no longer I that Live…”, then our desire to serve God would not be hampered by worrying about the conditions that God has asked us to work under. Also, we would not discern others or situations based on our human emotions.
Follow up on Part Two, week after next.
….time with the Master….
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From: “…time with the Master…”