Devotion #178

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39 ESV

There is little that demonstrates our desperate need for grace than these two commandments: love your God and love your neighbor. If we’re being honest with ourselves, nothing exposes the darkness of our hearts quite like being called to love. The reality is we fail at it every single day.

Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul—that’s everything we’ve got. We may acknowledge His existence, but does He truly have all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul? Does He come before everything in our lives? If He did, the world would be a very different place. If I’m being honest, my own life would be significantly different. Far too often, my needs take priority, my desires come first, and my emotions affect my behavior. Every day, I grow in my ability to place Him on the throne, but every single day I shove Him off and place myself and my needs up there. It’s a constant battle, and I am thankful for His grace to help me love Him more.

Love your neighbor as yourself—that one is just as impossible. Every time we grow impatient or frustrated with our spouses, every time we gossip to our friend about them, every time we well up in anger at their insensitivity, every time we judge their heart, every time we are dismissive or look down on the things they value, every time we fail to see them with compassionate hearts of mercy and grace, we are failing to love them well.

Here’s the question that always stops me in my tracks, and causes me to change my behavior: would your spouse describe you as the most loving person they know? If not, you’ve got some work to do. Loving others is putting their needs before my own. It’s a constant battle, and I am thankful for His grace to help me love Him more.

I’m so incredibly thankful for His daily dose of grace, and for the fact that my hope is not placed in my imperfect ability to love God or others as I should, but only in His perfect love for me. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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