part three: understanding the two commands and the three loves
Max, Marc, Morgan, Miller, and Mac.
We are still talking about love. I got too excited in our last chat and needed to retreat to reflect and consider the future. (Since this devotional comes from my journal, I’ll edit very little.)
There are two commands that sum up all that it means to serve God. (If you’ve not heard them by now, then I have failed immeasurably.) Avoid the common mistake of many believers: this summary does not mean that they are easily mastered and forgotten. Too many times I’ve heard, “the message this week was so basic, it was only on love.” The believer who has heard too much about love is too immature to hear anything else. That they are a summary means that every teaching flows from them and back to them. There is a river that starts from a spring and ends in the ocean. Love is both the spring and the ocean.
Loving God is the greatest commandment. Loving others is second. There is a greater and a lesser, make no mistake. The difference doesn’t mean that there are two paths to choose from. Neither is optional, so then what is the nature of their connection, that one would be greater than the other? The first will always lead to the second. However, loving others does not necessarily lead to loving others.
Therefore, make loving God your highest goal. Seek first his kingdom. Seek first his face. Love him with every shred of your being and you’ll not be disappointed. His name is Jealous, and he’ll not share your affections with another person or object.
You will fail at this countless times. Never get used to it but do not regret it. The heart that regrets is the heart that fails to confess, surrender, and trust God’s grace.
There are two commands, but there are three loves. You must love God, and you must love others as you love yourself. Many neglect the self love that is godly and good. My number one prayer is that you would love God. My second prayer is that you would love yourself in the way that God has designed.
I am not sure I can teach either of these things, for these are matters of the will. They are a choice to be made. I can share wisdom, provide insight for understanding, but I cannot take away your capacity to choose.
When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Are you excited about who you are? Do you think, “I am the greatest”? You ought to love yourself. You ought to be excited for who you are. You ought to consider yourself as the greatest. Of course, greatest means comparison, I am not suggesting that you compare yourself to others and think, I am the greatest. NO. that’s a dead end. You compare yourself to yourself. Are you the best possible you at this moment in time. If not, repent, make correction, and be greater in the next moment than you were in the old moment. Behold, God makes all things new!
If you do not love yourself, you will never really love others. You will always look to them to fill needs that only God can fill. Loving God overflows your cup so you can love yourself and others. When you reverse that, your cup never fills, what you get from loving others without loving God is an empty mist that only satisfies for a time. You are great. God made you. You are great, Christ died for you. You are great, because the Spirit was sent as your comforter. You are great, have a spiritual heritage most will never have. People in our world are not comfortable in looking at themselves and loving what they see. Anything less than self love is a false humility and a true heresy.
Learn what it means to love God, to love yourself, and to love others. Following this priority, in the way that God prescribes, will result in more blessing than you’ve ever dreamed of and an influence beyond anything your own efforts can achieve and a confidence that is rare in our world.
I love you.