Read: “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 5:19-21 (NIV)
Reflect: These scriptures sound so simple and easy, right? For me, I am more on track with following this command only when I am intentional about making my relationship with God my top priority. This requires me to specifically set aside time to read scripture, pray and write in my journal. When I am not intentional in spending time with God, I easily default to being self-absorbed and focusing instead on what I have to get done for the day, deadlines I have to meet, events I have to get to – the list goes on and on –while my time with God takes a backseat. Why is it so easy to do unplanned things for ourselves, but to find it necessary to take extraordinary steps to assure time with our extraordinary God?
Without engagement with God, I am not worshiping him, and, in turn, I am not experiencing the love he has for me. As a result, I become judgmental, impatient and can sometimes even be heard yelling at rhetoric from my neighbors on TV! As Pastor James recently mentioned, we can only give what we receive. If we are spending time with God, we nourish our souls, which, in turn, equips us with the power, through him, to love our brothers and sisters who we see and hear every day.
React: Do you need to start over this week by engaging with God so that you can nourish your soul and have love to give to your neighbor?
Prayer: God, thank you for loving us unconditionally. Thank you for never giving up on us and making each day a new opportunity to learn to love as you intended. Thank you for your patience and grace as we stumble in our learning.