Living the Gospel
Sure, we're to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. Probably easier than part 2: Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus told us that all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. That would mean that the Bible that Jesus read, the complete Old Testament, the body of Hebrew scriptures, hangs on these two commandments. That, without love, as Paul states, we are a clanging cymbal.
What makes a difference is the love that we reveal to the lovable and unlovable alike. We want our lives to be meaningful; when we leave this earthly realm, what we leave behind will have lasting significance. Sometimes it might be possible to feel like Macbeth:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
But it doesn't have to be this way. We are told to lay treasure up in heaven, where it can not be destroyed. The only way we can do that is to invest in things of eternal merit. It starts with loving our neighbor. Even as Jesus taught: 'what you have done for the least of these, you have done for me."
Here are some guidelines to help you in reaching out and loving on your neighbor:
1. Our love is INDIVIDUAL: Paul teaches us in 1 Cor 12 that "there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." Therefore, we should not try to copy cat how other people love on their neighbor. We have our own gifts, and as the Body of Christ, we need to operate in our gifts, and not try to be someone else. God has already given you the talent and passion to love as He's called you to love.
2. Love each person as if they are Christ. As Francis Chan challenges in his book, Crazy Love, "How would your life change if you thought of each person that you come in contact with as Christ?" This is easier said than done, but we can do ALL things through the One who gives us strength.
3. Do everything motivated by LOVE: Each act of kindness, mercy and love can change a life and the lives of others in response. When we drop a pebble into the pond, we can not control the ripples. We are in control of the pebble. Whether we choose to drop the pebble of love is up to us.
Entire lives can change if genuine Christians are obedient to what Christ taught: love your neighbor as yourself. This is the gospel that we are called to live.
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