When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment in God’s Law, He responded with a two-part answer. According to Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus said: “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 foremost commandment. The second is like the first. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
We as Christians are expected and even commanded to love God and others. That makes it an action. An action verb. A Choice. A Decision. We have to *do* love to be in obedience to Christ.
How do we accomplish this task? How does God experience love? How do we go about loving Jesus? How do we love those around us? Loving God and loving those around us is a key component of being a credible witness for Christ. According to Jesus, unbelievers know that we are His disciples by our love. Others will notice the difference.
When we first got married 12 years ago, Dan and I purchased a book called Love is a Decision by Gary Smalley. We were intrigued by the title I guess. That book was one of the best marriage books I have ever read. The truth is that love is many things. Emotion and romance certainly play a part. But deep, lasting love is all about commitment. Every morning when you wake up you can decide again to love your spouse. Every morning you can renew that commitment. You make the choice to love.
Since individuals interpret love in many ways; a commitment to love your spouse means looking for ways to actively show love them. It might mean cleaning the kitchen before they get home; and it might mean calling them from work to say I love you. It could mean you need to spend time on the couch talking in the evening, or it could mean a back rub.
For inspiration, you might look at the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Gary states that the five languages in which we can give and receive love would include words of encouragement, quality time, gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. Each of us has one or two love languages that we prefer. This is another book that rates high on our list.
As you consider the topic of love in the context of loving Christ and loving others, remember there are many parallels between marriage and our relationship with Jesus. Even if you are not married, you can look to the examples (both good and bad) around you and draw your own conclusions. Marriage is in fact our God-given example of how Christ relates to His church.
Could you wake up every morning and decide again to love Jesus? What does He expect from us? How does He receive our love? How can you show tangible love to those around you?