Weekday Devotionals

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31 NIV

So much of the Bible, and our sermons the last few weeks have been focusing on relationships with others. We can sometimes make the mistake of thinking this is a nice 'tag-along' to the loving God part. As in, you should love God first and foremost, oh and, if you think about it, try your best to love others as well, but you know, the first one is really the most important. Even in the verses listed above, the religious leaders had asked Jesus what THE greatest commandment was. In other words, the loving God part would have sufficed, but Jesus seems to quickly insert an 'oh, by the way, that's not all though... equally important is how you love others.'

Even as we have gone through the prophets in our One Year Bible readings we see a strong emphasis on how God is examining our relationship with others. We often understand the people turning towards other gods and worshiping idols as THE thing that led to their destruction, downfall, and exile, and although that is not wrong, there is also a strong emphasis on the degradation in relationships that led to their demise as well. In our own nation, we are once again asking, 'God, what are we to do? How might we turn this ship around? Everything is seemingly so cold and often our relationships are superficial or a struggle to maintain. We think we are good at loving God, but God reminds us that if we truly love Him then that will be most evident in the way we love others. Are we quick to anger or reconciliation? Is our go-to bitterness and offense or forgiveness and grace? This is what will truly resonate with people. This is the sermon that could be heard around the world.

As one friend recently commented, 'We often think the two greatest commandments are love God AND love others. I think we should cross out the 'and' and put 'by'. Love God BY loving others."

- Pastor Aaron




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