10 Commandments: Deuteronomy 5-6, Matthew 22:34-40
We have an ongoing challenge in our home, as I’m sure many parents of young children do, namely encouraging our kids to do relatively straightforward tasks, such as taking their shoes off & shutting the front door behind them; or staying at the dinner table until everyone has finished eating and then helping to clear it afterwards! Nevertheless, at other times we’re aware that they quite naturally imitate many of our mannerisms, expressions and habits without any trouble at all, both good and not so good!
Considering this apparent dichotomy that some things in life are far easier ‘caught than taught’, is so helpful when we read Matthew 22:38 where Jesus summarises the law by saying ‘Love (AGAPE/unconditionally) God 100%.’ Jesus isn’t teaching some dull, abstract command that He wants you to strive to obey. Instead, He demonstrates with every fibre of His being, with His every breath, His every word what ‘100% sacrificial love’ looks like and then asks you to reciprocate this love. ‘We love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19). Jesus is asking no more or less of you, than what He was willing to do at the cross. It’s this awesome power of reciprocity that lies at the heart of each and every Christian’s relationship with Jesus. ‘Christ’s love compels us… Jesus died for you that you might live for Him.’ (2 Cor 5:14-15). This greatest commandment is all about imitating God ‘as dearly loved children’ (Ephesians 5:1).
During advent may God remind you just how much He loves YOU. May His love for you blow you away, cause you to catch your breath as you glimpse the extent of His AGAPE love for you. A love that has nothing to do with your character, but everything to do with His and therefore is: unshakeable, unwavering, unfaltering, unchanging, wholly reliable, completely dependable, totally consistent, everlasting. A love not of attraction, but rather of attention. A love that loves despite a response. The God of the universe, the One who created you, the One who knows you intimately, loves YOU. Not because you are good, but because He is good.
When you receive His love, you can’t help but be impacted. When you experience His love, you can’t help but reciprocate it. In the lead up to Christmas ask yourself what motivates you, what stirs you, what drives you? Is it religious duty, dry obligation & dull habits? Does your Christian life feel like an uphill climb, all hard work and no play. Ask yourself this ‘are you doing the right things… but for the wrong reasons?’ If so, quit trying and instead spend time with Jesus and catch His heart for you: You are loved 100% and ‘all’ that He requires of you is to love Him 100%!
Jesus thank you that you loved me so much that at the cross you held nothing back & instead gave up everything. Holy Spirit help me to experience and know this love such that all that I do supernaturally flows out as a response to being loved – holding nothing back and giving you everything. Amen!
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