When Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG) that we are to love God, love ourselves, and then love others, he made a point to say what was to come first. He didn’t just say start you day with loving others before anything else. He didn’t say to spend your life giving to others above all else.
Here’s what He said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
If we are professed Christians, we know that we are supposed to go out to help others, love others, and serve others as Christ did. We may even have a burden that drives us to give, give, give. And when we do, we are following what Jesus instructed us to do.
But He never, never, never said to do that before we are first in connection with Him. He never said to do that in place of starting with Him. He said, first and foremost, that we are to start our day with Him, live our day with Him, and end our day with Him. And as we are with Him, we are to recognize His love for us so we can actually love ourselves. As a result, we will be able to love others as ourselves; we won’t be able to love others unless we have embodied the love of God in our total being.
As we all know, there is a whole lot of love that is needed in this world, let alone in our families. So what are we supposed to do with that need? It’s right there in Matthew 22:37-40. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our passion, prayer, and intelligence. This is the most important. Then, along side of that love, as that love unfolds in our being, we will not only love ourselves, we will love others, naturally. But when we stop living our days in that love with Jesus, we will not be able to experience the love we need of ourselves, and we will not be able to give from a fullness of love to others.
Today, if you only do one thing, love God with your everything. Give it a try. With your mind, strength, emotions, and soul, emerce yourself in God’s love. Be expectant in what will happen. Have faith that your step of faith will grow something inside of you that you have not known before. God has a gift for you today, and that is His gift of love just for you. Marvel in that love. Basque in that love. Swim in that love. Rest in that love. Laugh and cry in that love. Surrender in that love.
This is the most important thing you can do today!