LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
By Gary Kendall, Director Love KC (lovekc.net)
Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.
Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’”
I wonder, what did Jesus mean by “neighbor”? Humanity in general? Or was he actually talking about the people who live close to me? And, if he was speaking of the people in my neighborhood, how would I go about loving them?
I’ve struggled with these questions because the answer is critical to get right. Jesus said all the law and prophets hang on these two great commandments: love God and love your neighbor.
I’ve come to understand that my neighbor is anyone with whom I live, work, study or play. The concept includes my next-door neighbors, but it extends beyond, to all those with whom I have community—my network.
Loving God and neighbor are connected. When I love God, God’s love flows back to me in a loving relationship. So it is natural that, in my relationships with others, God’s love continues to flow through me, reaching my network of friends and family.
I’ve found there are three simple, repeatable, things I can do to develop healthy relationships and demonstrate love for God and my neighbor. I pray, care, and share. These three actions become a lifestyle.
First, I regularly pray for my friends, neighbors, and extended family, by name. As I pray, I listen for God to speak to my heart. I don’t usually hear an audible voice in my ear, but over time I’ve come to discern God’s gentle whispers to my soul. They often reveal ways to care about others. As I care, I survey the needs around me and serve them.
Caring usually leads to sharing. God is always revealing his love. I just need to align my life with God’s Word and opportunities to share will surface. I can share my influence, my story, and the good news of Jesus. It is personal and timely.
I’ve come to see “prayer, care, and share” as the natural, unforced, rhythm of life and love. Through these repeated actions, my love for God spills over to my neighbors. They can see it or sense it or both. Before you know it, they believe they are valued in my life, and they want to know why. The door is open to God.
Pick five people for whom you will pray today. Offer yourself to God and them. Watch for what God will do. Step into open doors and give God a chance to love them through you.
Lord, I offer my life to you today to use as you see fit.
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