9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, and fulfill it He did! We are indeed no longer under the Law, but we still must follow the commands of Jesus.
We are to follow the commands of Jesus not because He is a tyrant, but as verse 11 implies, so we can have complete joy and I would venture to add happiness. We can only be fully fulfilled, joyous, and happy when we are walking in the will of the Lord.
So, what are Jesus’ commands?
As verse 12, and 17 herein imply, we are to love each other.
Furthermore Matthew 22:37-40 states the following:
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Sounds simple and complex all at once.
It is simple because it takes a bunch of rules and regulations and simplifies them into two commandments.
It is complex because it is much easier said than done, and it is a little bit confusing and misleading.
Let’s tackle the second one first. It is confusing to some because they don’t know whether we still have to follow the 10 Commandments and other instructions given throughout the New Testament. I found a verse I believe clears this matter up quite nicely:
Romans 13:8 (NIV): 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I have always said that if you are loving you neighbor as yourself it would be kind of hard to murder, covet, commit adultery, etc., I just didn’t realize it was scriptural. Therefore, it is my opinion it isn’t that were not supposed to follow the 10 Commandments, it is that we do follow them when we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Remember when I said loving our neighbors was easier said than done? Well, the only answer or hope I have for you is that we can only love our neighbors as ourselves when we first love God with all our hearts, souls and mind. God has to give us the ability to overcome ourselves in order for us to love each other. It is only in His strength and in His power that we can be successful.
Just this Sunday I told my pastor that I couldn’t just love and that sometimes love just isn’t going to get it done. I guess God just told me huh?
I have admitted in the past that I struggle in this area. I love those who actively seek the Lord, but I struggle with those that don’t. I have confessed that I am bossy and have control issues, which leads me to love the ones who agree with me and do what I say. It is crystal clear to me now that I need to seek the Lord on this issue and pray longer, harder, and more for a greater gift of compassion and love.
This past week I was struggling to love some that I felt were coming against me. I got frustrated. I tend to think that as Christians we should all get along and shouldn’t have disagreements with each other, which leads me to become disheartened when problems arise. On Monday I watched a show on Peter and Paul. While it may not be too biblically accurate, it gave me a fresh perspective on the history of the church. I just assumed everyone got along great because they were filled with the Holy Spirit and doing what God called them to do. It did not occur to me that there were many disagreements or pride issues. Furthermore, it never dawned on me that some of the struggles Peter and Paul wrote about (example: pride issues) were personal in nature and they too had to learn the hard way. Lastly, I was reminded that sometimes God has great lessons for us in the hard places.
This weekend and hence forth I encourage you all to love one another. It will take prayer. It will take sacrifice. It will take humility. But most of all, it will take us actively choosing to put God before anything, including our pride and ourselves (even when we don’t wanna…sorry Pastor Cathy).
Have a blessed weekend!