We love Him because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? We have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
– 1 John 4:19-21 MEV.
Some years ago beautiful medical facilities were built to house newborn orphans. They provided the infants with a clean environment, sunlight, healthy food, fresh water, a comfortable bed, and fun toys, but the children grew sick and died in staggering numbers. An outside group was brought in to investigate the crisis.
Can you guess what they concluded?
The children needed to be loved. They required human contact— to be held, coddled, and spoken to multiple times every day. Without love, newborns fail to thrive and can actually die. God made us for loving relationship and human connection.
Love. It’s a little word with big implications.
When you tell someone that you love them, something profound and priceless has happened in your relationship. Once Grace and I decided that we not only loved each other but that we would also say, “I love you,” our relationship was never the same.
In the midst of His ministry a group of religious folks who were having a bit of a debate asked Jesus what the most significant section of the Bible is. They wanted Him to give them the boiled down bottom line summary of the entire Old Testament. Since Jesus is the most significant person who has ever lived, and the Bible is the most significant book ever written, Jesus’ answer would be most significant.
Mark 12:29-31 records what I like to refer to as Jesus’ “tweet” of the Old Testament:
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
According to Jesus, to mature we need to focus on five things:
- Love God emotionally with all your heart.
- Love God spiritually with all your soul.
- Love God mentally with all your mind.
- Love God physically with all your strength.
- Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself
Living a Spirit-filled life begins with love.