LOVE, this little word has probably been written about, meditated on, and sung about more than any other word or subject since the beginning of time. Throughout history, mankind has been on a quest of sorts to fill the emptiness, that void in the core of his being that we are all born with. Even fairy tales and Disney movies have a central theme of searching for that one, true LOVE. I mean, who doesn’t want to be loved? To be loved and to know how to love is the real hope and dream of everyone, if we are honest with ourselves. The truth is that God created man with a gaping hole in his heart that can only be filled with His Love, the only love that is eternal. God is the real, true LOVE. In Mark 12, Jesus tells us what the two greatest commandments are:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength! This is the 1st commandment. And the 2nd like it is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
1. Love God
2. Love others.
Sounds simple enough.
Sadly, I believe that this word has been thrown around so much that its meaning has become devalued and we are now desensitized to its real message and power. Growing up in the 1960’s, love was a very big deal. This was the era of great social change and cultural movements in our country. I’m talking about the “Love Decade,” which gave us hippies, free love, love-in’s and the love child. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE was everywhere! Apparently, this brand of love was the answer to all the world’s problems. If people, especially the older generation, would chill out, loosen up and stop being so uptight, they could find blissful freedom and happiness. And in turn, the world would be at peace. Iconic pop tunes became the era’s anthems, such as: “Love Makes the World Go Round,” “All You Need is Love,” “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” Sounded good, anyway. But this warped philosophy was just a distorted view of Jesus’ words in Mark 12. Instead of love God, and love others, their version was love ME, and love Me with others. It’s the “if it feels good do it,” theology. It certainly didn’t measure up to the bible’s definition of love in 1 Cor. 13:4-5;
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.”
The world’s love is self-gratifying, temporal and does not last. Nothing has changed really since those radical days of my youth. More than ever people are seeking their own pleasures (masked as their ‘dreams’) and we now have an entire generation labeled as the “Entitlement” generation. So, we’re right back where we started. The quest for true love and many hearts are still empty.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure that we Christians have figured it out much better. At least, I’ll speak for myself, for in my life experience, I confess that I’ve spent a good bit of time and effort on the 2nd commandment sometimes more than the 1st. It’s a whole lot easier to busy myself with good works and service than to cultivate my relationship with God or even ‘walk my talk’ when I’m not at church. Consider the wooden cross with its two beams, vertical and horizontal. The vertical beam is the anchor for the 2nd beam. It’s firmly planted in the ground and points upward. (1st commandment). The horizontal beam is worthless without the foundation of the 1st beam. It only functions attached to and supported by the 1st and points outward (2nd commandment).
1. Love God
2. Love others
So, here’s the challenge: Are we doing for God more than we are being with God? Is it possible that many times, we have the commandments out of order? Could it be that somehow we have complicated the simple message of the Gospel with our own agendas, however righteous they seem and missed the mark?
1. Love God
2. Love others
It’s just not that complicated. I’m not suggesting that we abandon the 2nd commandment in constant pursuit of the 1st! But we need the power of the 1st to accomplish the work of the 2nd! That’s the Great Commission! My fervent prayer is that we, the Body of Christ, will rise up, His glorious bride and share the power of HIS LOVE to the world. Quest, at last fulfilled! PRAISE JESUS! Our one and only TRUE LOVE!
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angles nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come, 39. Nor height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the Love of God.” Romans 8:38-39
Meditate on the lyrics below to this rich, old hymn:
The Love of God
The love of God is greater far than any tongue or pen can say
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin
O LOVE OF GOD, HOW RICH AND PURE HOW MEASURELESS AND STRONG
IT SHALL FOREVERMORE ENDURE, THE SAINTS AND ANGELS SONG
When years of time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
When men who here refuse to pray on rocks and hills and mountains call
God’s love so sure shall still endure all measureless and strong
Redeeming grace to Adams race the saints and angels song
Amen and amen.
- Linda Walker