“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 NLT
Jesus was very clear about what we are to do as His followers. Christians are to love God then love others. That is a simple-enough message, right?
Far too often, we are focused on just the second commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So we begin to do things for others and begin to love people, thinking that “I am truly living the greatest commandment out!”
We begin to do for Jesus, not because we love Jesus.
Our intentions are not impure or selfish; it comes out of a great desire to serve God. However, we need to remember something, even here in the Berry Bubble.
Jesus did not die on a cross 2000 years ago for you to just do things for Him. He died so that you may be able to do things WITH Him.
I will step into a field that I am not extremely knowledgeable about, but I will try my best with what I have learned.
A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I were talking and a takeaway that I had went something like this.
“Your girlfriend doesn’t want you to always do things for her. Sometimes (in fact, most of the time) she wants you to do things with her.” In a way, that is how Christ wants us to act with Him. He loves us and appreciates the things we do, but here’s the ultimate truth.
The commandment is to love in order to do!
Without loving the Father, there is no work to be done in Christ. The things that we do because we “love our neighbor” are because we want to serve our own selves.
There is no love without Christ, and there is no service without Jesus.
This year, I have felt quite convicted to learn how to love Christ so that I can love others. Last semester, I spent most of my time working to love the people around me without working on my own relationship with Christ. To use a popular metaphor, I was pouring out from an empty pitcher.
This led to a lot of ministry burn-out and unfruitful service that was based on my own power and belief that I need to “Love my neighbor as myself.”
In order to go out into the world and “…preach the Good News…” (Matt. 28:19), we must first make sure that our hearts are prepared to love Christ and receive His transforming love.
For without the love of Christ, we will serve the people around us out of our own selfishness and pride.
Jesus is much bigger that our own actions and ambitions. The foundation of our love for Christ will allow others to see Him more clearly through our own example.
When we love Jesus first, we can love others well.
Zion Brown is the Junior Project Manager for the Chaplain’s Office. When not doing all things Chaplain’s Office, he enjoys playing basketball with his friends and working on his photography business. After graduation, Zion intends on working in ministry as some sort of Executive Pastor or Church Planter.