Once upon a time there was a group of Pharisees (the religious elite of that day) who conspired against Jesus to “test” Him. They identified a lawyer on their team and sent him out of the bullpen to try and catch Jesus up in His words. This Pharisaic lawyer then mustered up enough boldness to ask Jesus: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36) At this point, I can imagine the other Pharisees giving each other fist pounds and discreet high-fives, thinking they finally stumped King Jesus. However, what happens next is powerful and still holds implications for us today.
Jesus looked at the lawyer and calmly replied: 37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-38) I know, deep, right? Jesus decided to sum up all 613 Old Testament laws with one word: Love. Love for God and love people. Essentially, Jesus was teaching that we need to go deeper in our love.
Think about these phrases: “All your heart, all your soul, all your mind.” Unless you can say with integrity you love like that – you need to go deeper. Christ went on to add: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As if loving the Lord with everything in us wasn’t enough already, Jesus added the fact that we need to go deeper in our love for our neighbors. When we love the ways that Jesus calls us to love, we provide a powerful display of the love of Christ through us, while also giving evidence to what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. (John 13:34) Together, let’s go deeper today in our love!
ACTION STEP: Read 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 and wherever you see the word love, replace it with your name. Take time to read the Scriptures out loud with you name inserted. identify areas within the text that would not totally be truthful for your life. Begin writing those items down, praying over them on a consistent basis, and get some accountability to help you grow in the areas listed.
PRAYER: Father, we come before You in Jesus name, by the power of the Holy Spirit, asking that You take us deeper in love. Help us grow in our love for You, O Lord, as well as in our love for our neighbors. I pray we would be defined less by hate and criticism, and more by the way we honor and love people in our church and those outside of it, as well. We need You to produce this love within us. We pray You will continue to take us deeper in love! In Jesus name, amen!