A policewoman was in our neighborhood the other day, going door to door. As she left, I called to her. “Oh, my more thing”, I said. “Thank you for all you do to keep our neighborhood safe and protected. I know life as an officer is not always easy, I see it in the news.” She paused and became a woman sharing with another woman, on the trials of her job.
It has now become a lifestyle habit to show value to people. Last year I heard a sermon on the two greatest commandments (for the umpteenth time in my Christian life): to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. It impacted me in a way as never before.
First, Pastor Ron gave us a gauge for knowing if God is the true object of our affections above all others.
- Where does your heart gravitate to? Picture your life as a compass. As the needle whirls around and stops, where does your mind go? If it is to God, then we will always be reoriented to God. (And . . . if it doesn’t, He loves us so much, He will seek to “court us” to win us back to Him.)
- Do we live for an Audience of One? Or the applause of many as we play to the crowd?
- What are we living for? We have only one life for which we will give an account. Sobering.
If we live with God as the object of our affections, a natural outgrowth will be a growing capacity to love our neighbors (starting in our own home). Putting the same concern and energy into cherishing our neighbor as we do ourselves.
Selfishness must take a back seat. Might not be easy, but if we sincerely want to follow Him, that is what it must mean. And it will NOT be hard IF we are seeking to place God as the object of our affections. There is a reason why He told us to love Him first.
How do you look at others? Are they a bother? In your way? Stopping you from doing what you really want to do? The Word calls us to be lovers of God and lovers of people.
Who is your neighbor? Not just the lady across the backyard fence. It starts IN our home with our husband and kids. Or the people across the hall in your building. Or the people you work with in the office. Or the clerk in the store. He might lead you to someone in need as happened with the Good Samaritan. How many passed by, well-meaning people ignored the one in need. Only one showed compassion.
The more we have God as the center of our affections, the more we can cherish others.
What will we choose TODAY?
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22: 37-39 (ESV)