Our Bible verse for today: “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” Matthew 22:37-40 (CSB)
Our thought for today: Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.”
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We often complicate things and make life much harder than it needs to be. That’s especially true when it comes to organized religion. Historically, humans simply have not been able to leave the Bible alone. It’s as if we believe God didn’t finish the job and so we need to help Him out by adding our own rules and regulations to what He gave us.
In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus simplified things for us. In that passage He was referring to the Old Testament Law of Moses and to the words of the Old Testament prophets, all of which were legitimate instruction from God, and I think He was also taking a backhanded swipe at the laws of the Pharisees, which built upon and embellished God’s word. In this passage Jesus simplified it all by telling us to simply love God and love other people. The more fully we do those two things – love God and love others – the more completely we will have fulfilled every other thing God ever told us to do. If you fully love God, and if you love other people too, you will be right in the center of God’s will. It’s as simple as that.
The Apostle Paul made this same point in Romans 13:10 when he wrote, Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.” He said it again in 1 Timothy 1:5-6, “Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion.” Paul’s point was that many Christians have lost sight of the beauty and simplicity of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:37-40 and they’re all tangled up instead in endless discussions and arguments about things that don’t really matter all that much.
The Apostle John also wrote about this teaching from Jesus. John came to be known as “the Apostle of love” because so much of his teaching revolved around the simple message of just loving God and loving each another.
Love is the answer. Just love God and love others. Really love them. Fully love them. Do that and everything else will take care of itself.