Thursday, October 06, 2011


According to Jesus, all of the Law can be summed up in just two simple commands, “Love God” and “Love others as you love yourself.” This means that whenever we break the Law, or sin, we are essentially failing to love either God or our fellow man. (See Matthew 22:37-40)

Jesus also suggests that the two commands are connected; "...and the second is like the first..."; which would mean that if we don’t love God then we won’t love others, and if we don’t love others then we’re not really loving God either. (see 1 John 4:20)

Whenever we sin, we’re misdirecting our love for God and others and we’re aiming it at ourselves. Because we love our own pleasure more than we love our spouse we look at pornography. Because we love our own comfort more than we love the homeless we keep on walking and pretend not to see them. Because we love our own reputation more than we love our co-worker we keep our mouth shut whenever someone asks us about our faith.

Our ultimate failure, then, is that we love our own comfort, and reputation, and pleasure, more than we love other people. It's not even so much that we're not loving when we sin, it's really just that our love is self-focused and not aimed at God or at those around us.

This is why Jesus tells us that it is impossible for us to follow Him and become one of His disciples if we do not first learn to daily practice death to self. (see Luke 9:23) Why? Because as long as our love for our own pleasure and comfort and reputation is pulsing through our veins, we cannot even begin to love God - or to love others - the way Jesus commands us to. It just can’t work.

Lately I’ve been sensing a need to locate that old cross of mine again and to lift it up on my shoulders before I leave the house each day. I think it might be under the bed, or maybe in the hall closet. Hopefully it’s not up in the attic or in the garage (then I’ll never find it again). But I do know that if I don’t get back on my knees again and wedge that cross against my shoulder every day, and lift the weight and feel those splinters in my hands again, I will never learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I’ll never be able to love God or to love other people the way Jesus does without dying to myself daily. There’s no other way.

"The way of the cross leads home. The way of the cross leads home. It is sweet to know as I onward go. The way of the cross leads home." - Jessie B. Pounds (1906)



Chris Kirk said...

Nice blogsite!

I think you would appreciate my blog. It is about Jesus, housechurch and life in general with a Star Trek Theme.

Chris Kirk said...

wow, I just blogged on the very same topic today.

Jon Philpott said...

I like what Paul says in Romans 13:

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
(Romans 13:8-10 ESV)

That we love over to others like we owe a debt. I wonder what our 'love credit score' is?

But also I find it interesting that Paul says that this love for others is the fulfilling of the law for us, but when we look back at Romans 8:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

(Romans 8:1-11 ESV)

We see the it is the indwelling Christ that fulfills the requirement of the law within us. So the way I see it is, I have a debt to love others around me, and best, and probably the only way, to genuinely love them, to love try and love them as Christ does, is to submit to his internal presence and let him love them through us, and this, as you say means dying to ourselves to let him be the beacon of love within us.

Its not easy.

Jon Philpott said...

Also: Please excuse my just-got-to-work with a new born sleep pattern typing.

Anonymous said...

Brother, nice post. thank you. i hope one day we can say like Paul did that we ran well. i wish we can learn to die to ourselves and put the cross on and know that His yoke is easy and walking with Him (bitter)SWEET, and His law sweeter than honey. i also hope that young women like me or even the older ones learn that true beauty comes from being a new LOVING selfless creature and a disciple of Christ. and it comes with costs. but NOTHING compares to Him. i fail so much but God does His work in perfecting us. it is His grace that i can say today i can see some beauty within me. and that is amazing. because i was totally utterly ugly that is what i believed and was kinda true - my old heart was of stone.
Greetings from Slovakia to all my brothers and sistas in faith :)