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  • First Baptist Church

No Greater Commandment

The most important one, answered Jesus, “is this: Hear , O Israel: The

Lord our God, The Lord is One. 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: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.”

How many of you think you got this life thing figured out? How many of you ask for help? In your times of distress where do you turn? Do you recognize your limitations in this life and allow God to enter in and be your refuge? Pride prevents us from asking for help, pride causes us to judge those who do, pride says I don’t need anyone and I don’t need God because I can handle this on my own. Why is that we view ourselves as less than because we struggle because we need others? I assume that you are all very familiar with the figure of speech, “pull yourself by the bootstraps”, or “crying is a sign of weakness”, how many of you have been told to get over it. These saying are so common in our world- where hard work is so valued. Look at the scripture though we are more than our strength, we are a heart, we are a mind, and we have a soul. We are more than our mind and our existence is greater than what can be explained by science. God is asking for everything- that we give Him of ourselves completely and give all to Him. God can exist in a fraction of your life, but that isn’t what He calls us to- He wants every aspect our lives.

Our primary purposes to Love all other efforts without it are doomed to fall short. If what we seek is security, power, wealth, attention, all will fall short. Love is the essential it is not an after thought or just something nice to consider. I enjoy coaching sports very much. Often I get frustrated with my daughter because I am extremely competitive. I am convicted in those times that God is calling me first and foremost to Love her - not to win. This is one example where despite my efforts I struggle to place Love above all else. What gets in your way? Maybe if you don’t have a reference for God’s Love or familiar with the bounty it provides you struggle conceive of it. You can Love God in ways beyond your imagination, it gives us the ability to forgive, to overcome, to draw strength in our most difficult times.

We withhold so much out of fear, we don’t ask, we don’t talk. It is so important that we learn to allow ourselves to be open to the presence of God in our Lives. Letting God into our Lives and experiencing His love is what allows us to thrive. In thriving we give glory to God, we worship Him, we strive to emulate His love in us to those around us. It is this relationship that teaches to Love our family, friends and our Neighbors. Human understanding of love is broken-, flawed, we must Love ourselves by allowing others to love us and recognize that we have needs not just in the midst of a pandemic but everyday we need to allow the Love for God rule our lives.

In Loving God, we love our neighbors and ourselves.

Jonathan Johnson

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