“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind “Luke 10:27
I was wondering about the great commandment. What does it mean?
Loving your neighbor is a bit more straightforward because, after all, here they are I know what I’m doing. Loving God is maybe a bit more abstract because, after all, “… you are a God who hides himself…” (Isaiah 45:15).
Now Christ does say in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command”, but that’s more like a result (no argument that there is a key relationship here). This idea that our love of God drives our motivation to please Him is repeated elsewhere and I get that, but what drives our motivation to love Him? How do we understand what it means to love Him?
I know we love Him because He first loved us and I agree, but that answer is not really the question I’m asking.
So as I thought about this I thought, “what it is about God that I love?”
As I continued to think I also remembered a Muslim friend of mine telling me something about the “attributes” of God. Here is site you can go to and read some of what others have listed as His attributes. This was how I understood why I loved God, and could see the emotional connection to what is so much more than a rule.
I love truth – I really love it. The understanding that comes from truth makes complex things simple and hidden things plain. I think I love truth the most.
I love wisdom – This is related to my love of truth. Knowing the reasoning of things, I really love that. Seeing wisdom documented centuries ago that is still wisdom today makes my spirit leap in my body. I love it.
I love Justice – I don’t mean I want Justice, I mean injustice grieves me, it hurts my soul to see it, there is a disquiet, a moral outrage to injustice. I think I love Justice because I hate injustice so much.
And that is what loving God means to me. The things about God like His purity, His faithfulness, His compassion, His goodness. Those things are the things I desire, they are the things I want to emulate, the things I want to posses.
We understand that the people we love usually have qualities we find admirable, that we wish we had ourselves. Loving God is like that. Do you love mercy? You love God. Do you love compassion? You love God.
We love Him because of His attributes, who he is. When we think about the things about God that we love, that we wish we possessed, that we find admirable we see that we do in fact love Him.
And that is why the first commandment is first. It is only when we understand/experience our love for God that we have the desire to love our neighbor.
Rules are policy and policy is dehumanizing (the letter kills).
Loving God gives us the desire to love our neighbor and that’s what makes us the humans He meant us to be (the spirit gives life).
Anyway that’s what I thought.