MATTHEW 22:36-39

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew. 22:36-39). Though Jesus was answering one who was trying to ensnare Him, He settled forever the question of love. Though He was explaining about the commandments of God, Jesus brings into stark reality the nature of love! There are at least three elemental truths about love for us to consider.

1. Command. It is imperative that in all that you do before God that which you do first is love Him! God has demanded love in every age, and living under the law of Christ is certainly no different. Love is not an option. God is love. Love is His nature. If you do not love, you do not know God (Cf. I Jn. 4:8). If you do not know God, you will be lost (Cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-9). In marriage, love is a command and the kind of love commanded in our text is the same love that the husband is to have for his wife (Cf. Eph. 5:25). The love that is commanded of the wife is a "husband lover," that is a love that responds to that of her husband (Cf. Titus 2:4).

2. Commitment. All of the heart, all of the soul, and all of the mind is commanded of us and that is commitment of our all! When we became Christians, we confessed that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that confession is a profession, a vow, a commitment to God that we are to keep, live by each day we live (Cf. Rom. 10:10; Heb. 3:1, 4:14). Just as the marriage vow when we take a husband or a wife is a commitment before God and everyone to that husband or wife, so is the profession of Christ a commitment. David said, "Commit thy way unto the LORD" (Psa. 37:5). Solomon also said, "Commit thy works unto the LORD" (Prov. 16:3). Jesus did exactly that in His life upon this earth and even in His death on the cross for the remission of our sins, "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Pet. 2:23). How can we do any less in our lives? Love is a commitment.

3. Constant. Love is not something that you fall out of or decide to say, "Oops, I don't love you any more," whether to God or to our marriage partner. Love is something that we "keep on keeping on" doing, until we pass from this life (Cf. Rev. 14: 10). Paul so beautifully expressed, "Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all thin gs, endureth all things. Love never faileth " (I Cor. 13:7,8 ASV). We show our constancy to our marriage partner by loving them whether "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse." We show our constancy to God by keeping His commands, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (I Jn. 5:3). In the parable of the "prodigal son" the Father is lovingly waiting for the return of a wayward son. Why? Because love is constant! However, God will not wait forever for us to come to Him, to love Him, to keep His commands (Cf. 2 Pet. 3:8-13). Though God will not wait forever, He is waiting now!

Wherever one goes, he should be useful;
whatever one does, he should do to the best of his ability.
What one has, one ought to use;
and when his talent is increased, give his thanks to God.

By John H. O'Neal

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