“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. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
I run on a trail by my house that is designed for bike riding, running and walking. It is a well-designed trail that will take you as far as you want to go. The path goes under the major intersections to keep you safe from cars and avoid having to enter the roadway. The good part of the trail is when you get to go downhill, but the downhill just means you have to go back uphill.
In the course of my run (particularly on those uphill areas), I often get tired and tend to drop my head and shuffle my feet. When my head drops, I lose sight of what might be coming down the hill as I am trying to run up it. There have been a few times when I ran smack into the railing and almost fell due to my not seeing what was ahead. Now when I approach the uphill slope, I am reminded of my error and that shame reminds me to keep my head up so I don’t run into people or the dreaded rail.
In the Christian life, we tend to make things complicated, and we often categorize sin in "acceptable" and "not acceptable" categories. There are sins we are comfortable with and there are sins that we despise, especially when we see them in others. We look down on others and justify our own sins. We forget the two commandments on which all of God's law hangs, and we choose to judge and not love. It seems it does not take much for us to lose focus and remember what is really important in the Christian life.
We can so easily get lost in our Christianity and seek to do things that are good while losing sight of what is most important. We say we love the Lord our God, but yet we fail to love our neighbor as ourselves. We say we love the Lord our God, but we fail to keep His commandments and find ourselves not even reading His Word. Jesus was challenged with a question as to what was the greatest commandment, and He gave these two as the most important. If we are to follow Him, we must keep our focus on loving Him, and loving our neighbor as ourselves which includes the people we don’t care for. These two commandments will keep our focus on Him, and will align us spiritually on the right path.
Do you love God with all your heart, soul and mind? Does your life reflect that love in obedience to Him? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Would your neighbor agree with your answer? How about those whom you despise? May God help us to live in Him and love like He loves. Where will your focus be today? Will you love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself? May God help us to change the world by loving the world as He did.
Stay in the fight!