Love God, Check. Love My Neighbour, Check. Love Myself? HUH??
Posted by Brad Quiring on September 7, 2016
What commandment in the Bible is the most important? There are many in the Bible. What gets priority. Jesus got that question from an expert in the law.
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-34
Even the great teachers of the Jewish Law had a tough time figuring this out.
When you think of it, the part about loving God is okay. We can understand it, maybe not fully comprehend it and certainly not fully obey it, but we can get it.
The part about “love your neighbour” we can get. We understand it maybe a bit more than fully loving God, yet we still admit we have a hard time obeying it.
But, “love your neighbour as yourself”? That one really gets us. How can I love myself? In fact, we believe it is wrong to love ourselves.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul launches into a whole list of terrible evil that will come, and may very well be upon us, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves…” You notice that at the top of the list is “lovers of themselves.”? That is the top of the list of evil. Why in the world would Jesus tell us to love ourselves?
The key is God.
First and foremost in Mark 12, Jesus instructs us about God, “The Lord our God, the Lord is One.”
- God is the Lord - absolute authority
- Our God - the One with absolute authority is our God, we have a relationship with Him.
- Is ONE - Uncontested, no other, no competition, nothing comes close to God.
This God, revealed clearly in the Bible, in creation and in our hearts and minds, is OUR God and we are to love Him with all our being.
The first step of loving God is having faith in Jesus Christ who is the reason we can have a relationship with “our” God:
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.” 1 John 4:15
Your faith in Jesus Christ results in God living in you and being your Lord and Saviour. He will also be your father. His presence will be with you through the Holy Spirit.
Through faith in Jesus, you will live in God, have full access to him, an eternal future with him and his strength will be with you.
In other words, you will have a new identity. Your identity and worth are found in God through faith in Christ Jesus. You identify with God and He calls you His child. Therefore, if you truly love God, you will love your new identity. In that, you will now love yourself! If we love ourselves, based on the person and work of Jesus, then we have taken step one toward a proper human relationship. We take that step further to loving our neighbour, because our love is no longer based on human, incomplete and confusing criteria, rather it is based on our identity in and with God.
If we cannot love ourselves, how can we love someone else? But if we truly love God, we can truly love ourselves.
Based on that, we can love our neighbour.
Be sure to read these Bible passages to get the full idea of what is being taught here. If you have any questions, just drop me a line! God bless.