The Greatest Commandment
By Eli Stutzman
May 1, 2009
Jesus said, in John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Jesus' love for his disciples was unconditional. God's love for us is unconditional.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God loved us before we ever did anything to make us lovable. That is what we are also called to do. God has never asked us to be or do anything He is not.
I knew a lady several years ago that, when raising her children, would withdraw love from them as punishment. When they displeased her, she would say, "I don't love you." This was how she controlled them. This is called conditional love. I love you only if you obey me. Those children eventually grew up and the emotional problems they had made their life almost impossible.
We all know good parents that can love their children even while disciplining them. In fact, when a child is disciplined, the need to reassure the child that he or she is loved is highest. That is what I mean by unconditional love. God is always good. You cannot be better at something than God is. He can discipline us and love us at the same time.
God made us all with a need to feel loved. Even when we sin, still He loves us. The children of Israel, when walking through the desert, grumbled many times and were disciplined for it. Yet, still they were not sent back to slavery in Egypt. God loves us even when we are acting in a way that no one else would love us. He calls sin for what it is. And He calls us as His people to do the same. The Great commandment is to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:36-38 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
I have already said it, but I will say it again; God loves you. The love of God is unconditional. No need to get your life right first and then seek His love. That just won't work. Repentance is necessary after, but it needs to be real or it won't do what it should. So when you feel down and out, thank God that He loves you just as you are.
One proof that you are loved is in what Jesus said in John 3;16: For God loved the world (your name) so much that he gave his only begotten son that (if) whosoever (you) would believe on his name, (you) would not perish, but have everlasting life.
For the authorized text, please see your Bible. Even if you were the only person on earth to ever need a savior, He still would have loved you enough to do it for you alone. And all that before you even did one good thing to prove yourself. The reason is to bring His love to people all over the world. Remember, we are to love not the world, but the people in it.
You can love the drug addict, the drunk, the Amish, and the ex-Amish along with just about anybody else who comes in contact with you. God has never asked us to do what He hasn't done first Himself. In fact, you can even love people who mistreat you. But, you really need to feel loved first. We are made that way, every one of us. We can't really love others until we feel loved. That's not us by our old nature, but God has put that love into us. So we have to have a new nature. He has given all believers the power to love others for Him.
When I express love in His name, that's His power at work in me. One way to chase away the unloved feeling is to thank God for His love even before I feel it. Trust God's Word; it's there even if you don't feel it. Because it is real, it will come to where you feel it, if you exercise it. Take heart, we CAN get there. Remember, I'm praying for you.
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