New Believers Bible - Flipbook - Page 102
On one occasion Jesus was asked what commandment was the most important.
He replied, “The most important commandment is this: `Listen, O Israel! The
Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God
with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second
is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:29-31).
These are the two most important commandments because if you truly love
God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will want to do what pleases
him. In the same way, if you really love others as much as you love yourself, you
will be concerned for their welfare and will treat them accordingly. Before you
can effectively love God, however, you must first realize how much he loves you.
Scripture explains that God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to
die for us while we were still sinners who had no relationship with him (Romans
5:8). The more we realize this wonderful truth, the more our love for God will
grow. The Bible correctly recognizes that our love for God comes as a result of
his loving us first (1 John 4:19). These Scripture passages explore some different
facets of the love we should have for God and for others.
1. God Should Be the Greatest Love of Our Lives. Before we can fully
love one another, however, we must fully love God and understand his love for
us (see Deuteronomy 6:4-5, page 160).
2. Christ’s Love Sets the Standard. Our love for others should model
Christ’s love for us (see Ephesians 5:2, page 1070).
3. Love Surpasses All Spiritual Gifts. A Christian who understands what
love truly means and shows love in his or her life is the greatest testimony to
others (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, page 1042).
4. Our Love for God Prepares Us for Service. The depth of our love for
God directly affects our ability to minister to others (see John 21:15-17,
5. Our Love for Others Mirrors the Condition of Our Heart. The love we
have for those around us is an indication of the strength of our Christian walk
(see 1 John 2:9-11, page 1142).
6. Our Love Should Grow. The closer we grow to God, the more our love for
others should increase (see 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, page 1086).
One of the great principles of the Christian life is forgiveness. Jesus modeled this
principle for us when he hung on the cross and prayed for the very people who
had put him there (see Luke 23:34, page 935). His words were so powerful and