“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘What commandment is the foremost of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. The second is this, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these.'” – Mark 12:28-31
Loving God means faith in action. If that’s the case, how do we live that out day-to-day? The answer is obedience.
Faith in action means obeying the commandments of God. That pretty much covers the first part of the scripture referenced above – to love God with everything we have. But today, we’re going to focus on the second commandment in the verse: “love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Yeah, right,” you might be thinking. “You’ve obviously never met MY neighbor.”
Well, first of all, let’s look at what the word “love” in this context actually means. It has nothing to do with feelings. It has nothing to do with emotions. This meaning of “love” doesn’t even have anything to do with liking another person. It’s a decision of the will.
But how can we love somebody we don’t even like? Trust me, it is possible; here’s how:
- Treat them fairly.
- Show them respect.
- Be honest with them.
- Keep your word.
- Show them that in spite of your differences or their irritations, you still care about them as a person.
That’s what it means to love. It’s choosing to love people, even when you don’t always like them. It’s about showing the same love and grace that God showed each one of us when He sent His Son to save us from our sins. It was out of love that Christ was born – so that He could die on the cross for you and for me.
But that’s not all. How many of us really know our neighbors? I mean more than just the casual, “Hey!” when we’re getting into our cars on the way to work or grilling out in the yard. Loving your neighbor as yourself also means loving them enough to share this Good News of Jesus Christ with them. And what better time than Christmas to share the true reason for the season with your neighbor? Ask God for an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with one of your neighbors this year. You might just be surprised by the response.
Now, that is faith in action. That is living out LOVE this Christmas!