Loving God, Loving People
Followers of Jesus Christ, known for centuries as Christians, seek to implement in our lives the things that Jesus taught. Jesus summarised the entire laws of God into these two commandments. These are God’s rules for living. Guidelines for having a great life.
First love God, with absolutely everything you are and everything you have.
Second love people as you love yourself.
If we only do the first, we tend to become legalistic and self-righteous, focussing on our own efforts to do the right thing. People who lived like this in Jesus’ day were called Pharisees, and they received some of the harshest rebukes from Jesus. They were called hypocrites, intentionally not doing what they preached, and not seeing the inconsistencies within themselves.
If we do the second command and love people first, but ignore God, we become “humanists”. We elevate people and their cultures and behaviours above God, and his commandments to us. We tolerate things that the bible calls sin. Sin is all the wrongful living and behaviour that separates us from God, and each other. The original sin committed by Adam and Eve was essentially this – they decided what would be true and right for themselves, rather than listening to, believing and then following what God had said was true and right. By doing this, they knew what sin was by becoming sinful. When we ignore God’s instructions in the bible, we do the same thing.
Logically this seems silly, because God created everything, and designed us, and knows how we people work. And yet it is in our nature to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, rather than accepting what God says is true.
So Christians should live first by loving God. This means accepting Jesus’ salvation for us, and being filled with his Holy Spirit. And then we abide with God and keep his commands. And when we do this well, we are able to do the second task well – to love other people the way we now know how to love ourselves, which is the way God loves us.
And the bible teaches us, and gives us many examples, of how to do this. Our Book of Luke Project is exploring some of these examples. Click on the button below to read more.