And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)
These four things, heart, soul, mind and strength, include every aspect of the human being. There is no area of human desire, need, work, ambition, etc. which is not covered in these four facets of man’s existence. When these belong to God alone; when He is loved with all of these, then what possibility is there of rebellion against Him? Since, through my love for Him, He possesses me fully in all these avenues, then my concern, my desire, my ambition, my effort will be to seek His will, His pleasure, moment by moment so that I may carry it out. I will have nothing else to live for, because the fullness of my love for Him (all my heart, soul, mind and strength) has left no cubicle wherein any other affection may find lodgment and thus draw me away from His will.
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Gal 5:6)
Faith is conviction, certainty, knowledge. Though faith is certain, it needs another element to set it going; to set it to work. This element is love. Love will work, cheerfully, carefully, long and hard. Love makes the yoke easy and the burden light. Love turns each task into a pleasure, makes the performance of each requirement a joy. A man may love his wife, but his love for her is not usually the only reason for his existence. She is not the sole focus of his life, (though she forms an important part of it). He has other interests and concerns as well. But there were probably days in the past during the time of courtship when she filled his vision; when most things were done with reference to her, he could not find the task too hard, or too drearisome, as long as she was with him, or the job was for her benefit. When he “walked” “in love” it made all the difference.
The focus of the Christian’s love is GOD. He is everything. As the gaze is fixed upon Him, the life is molded to His life. The focus is not rules and regulations. Not the drudgery of a servant, but the joyful fellowship of a lover. In this fellowship, there is no anxiety. The aim is not to finish a job, to meet a deadline, but rather, the lifelong goal, focused on moment by moment is to retain the fellowship. The walk is the goal. The walk is not the means towards an end. The end or the goal, is the journey with Him. What if the car breaks down on the way to keep an appointment? What if my plans are sometimes overruled? What if the task sometimes seems difficult? The aim is fellowship with God! The only aim! As long as I walk in His will, He controls the circumstances. When unexpected obstacles arise, He is the Master. Let Him make my plans or change them as He chooses. That is no concern of mine. My only business is to love Him steadfastly; to be keenly sensitive to the direction of His will and to do that will, in the joyful service of love. Is not my Father with me? Can any situation break the love-link between us? As long as the answer is no, I am at peace, because my purpose in life is simply to love Him with my whole being.
God is omnipotent. So we know that when we are with Him, everything is perfect, no matter what appearances may say, we may be at peace, no matter what the circumstances may be. Frustration begins when I find that my affections are turning elsewhere. When my heart is on some goal other than fellowship with God, what then? Then every obstacle in the way of the accomplishment of my goal is a cause for anxiety and concern. Then I am left to my own resources for the achievement of my desires. My own keen awareness of my limitations and proneness to failure causes me anxiety and lack of peace.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Mat 6:24)
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Mat 6:22)
“No man can serve two masters.” This is an absolute rule of human makeup, stated by the One who designed and created humanity. Is there any man who can serve no master? This is equally impossible. We must, as a necessary function of life, place our affection upon something, in order that we may be motivated to continue living. All that we can do, really, is choose who shall be our master.
So we must choose God as our Master and keep our eyes single to that Master, by loving Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
by living for others.
living for Him.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)
This love for my neighbor I cannot generate. My neighbor, like me, is unlovely by nature. It is natural to dislike him and to be critical and condemnatory towards him. His qualities encourage this attitude. How can I love him? This can only come by realizing that God loves me still, in spite of the fact that I am just as bad as the next man. The love of God, filling my vision, applied by the holy Spirit, enables me to love the unlovely, as it transforms me into His image.
On a lesser level, when God says, “love your neighbor,” He gives us the command to do something. This, irrespective of our feelings. How may I walk with God? How can I be prevented from losing sight of Him in the busy schedule of each day’s activities? I have tried so many; many times and failed.
The answer is, Walk in love. I cannot see God to focus my physical attention on Him. Amid the physical actions of a physical day, my attention may turn away. I may be often distracted. But the answer is, to focus my love for Him on others! Labor for others every moment for His sake. To have no personal efforts (nothing done for the sake of self) but to ever perform every task for another, to become a “do gooder,” to make this my life’s work for God’s sake. This, according to Jesus is the formula in our lives which enables God to take up permanent residence with us.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him…. If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.. (John 14:21,23)
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
He says, “If you don’t want me to leave you for even a moment, then live to help and bless others, every moment.” In every task which I undertake each day, my careful consideration must be, “am I doing this to bless somebody, or am I doing this for myself?”
In other words, I must show a loving attitude through deeds of love to my neighbor irrespective of whether I feel affection and tenderness towards him or not. This I can do, through my love for God, for God’s sake.
“…love thy neighbour as thyself” Is this possible in the fullest sense? Did Jesus really mean what He said, or did He have a tendency to exaggerate? “…as thyself.” What is implied here? It means going to bed at night thinking of my neighbor’s problem. It means spending of my time, energy, means for his sake, in his cause, in exactly the same proportion as I do these things for myself. (NB. He is not required to love me thus, but I am required to love him thus! Jesus did not say, “your neighbour shall love you.” He said, “you shall love your neighbour as yourself”). The point is, we should not concern ourselves about how others treat us. This is not our concern. Our duty, given by our Lord is to concern ourselves about how we treat others.
Source: Restoration Ministry