Numerous musicians over the years have sung that “Love makes the world go round.” In many ways, they are right.
Not only is the experience of love like none other, but the knowledge that you are loved can inspire you to do great things, and giving love to others can lift them out of the darkest hole and deepest pit. Love is a force like none other.
Jesus recognized this, which is why His entire ministry was characterized by love. He not only lived a life of love, but He taught love as well.
In one place in the Gospels, some religious leaders ask Jesus which commandment was the greatest. He replies by giving them not one command, but two. In Mark 12:30-31, a great Scripture on love, Jesus answers this way:
“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to know if we really love God. Almost every person believes that they love God, but how do we know? Elsewhere Jesus says that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments, but since nobody can keep all the commandments perfectly, this seems like a sliding scale. How can we know if we love God?
I think it is for this reason that Jesus provides the second statement about loving others.
If we love God and want to keep His commandments, one of the primary things God wants us to do is love others. Loving God and loving others are so intimately connected that John writes later in the Scriptures that if you claim to love God but do not love others, you are a liar (1 John 4:20).
In fact, loving God and loving others are so intertwined and connected, that here in Mark 12:31, at the end of the verse, Jesus speaks of the two as being one commandment. He says here is no other “commandment” (singular) greater than these (plural). If you love others, then you are loving God. If you love God, then you will love others.
There are numerous ways that we can show love to our neighbors and those in our community in practical ways. One good series about how to love our neighbors is written by Sam over at Grace Ground.com.
Scriptural Books on Love
Here are some helpful books for learning more about what Scripture teaches on the topic of love. Click on a book below to see pricing and reviews.