“The first (i.e. most important) of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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.” (Mark 12:29-31)
Over the past few days, these two commandments have just not left my mind. I had to keep asking myself, Am I really obeying these commandments? Am I truly loving God with everything I have? According to the Bible, the evidence is pretty straightforward. Jesus said that “if you love me, keep my commandments.” Is my life marked by a whole-hearted obedience to the teachings of Christ? Am I willing to follow Him in everything, to the hurt of my own self? What if He asks me to love and forgive someone who has caused incredible pain? If He tells me to give more than I think I am able, will I shrink back, or will I trust that He will provide for all my needs? Maybe He is pointing out a habit that needs to be broken – am I ready to let go?
The Bible also reminds us that EVERYTHING in life is to be approached as if we were doing it for God Himself.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10)
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23)
Am I truly doing everything with all my heart? Or is my motto “that’s good enough”? I’m a stay-at-home mom, and my children and I take care of the majority of the household chores. How am I tackling everyday tasks? Am I doing my very best in scrubbing the floor, and cooking dinner? Am I training my children to do their chores to the best of their abilities? How about their education? Am I encouraging them to push themselves to their full potential? Am I being frugal with the money God has entrusted to my family, being the best steward possible with my resources? Am I the best wife I can possibly be, or do I expect my husband to settle for “good enough”?
God expects only our very best, nothing less. Anything less than that is mediocre, no matter how good we think we did. If we do not push ourselves to be the absolute best we can be, “as working for the Lord”, then we are “robbing God” and are no better than the children of Israel in the Old Testament (see Malachi 3). When Jesus observed the poor widow giving her offering of a few cents worth to the temple, He praised her for giving “all that she had” (Mark 12). We would have just sent her away, telling her to keep her few pennies, thinking it wouldn’t really contribute much anyway. But God doesn’t look at the quantity. He wants us to give our all, above and beyond what we think we are able. Only then do we truly love Him with everything we have.
We are also to love our neighbour as ourselves. What I realized is that I truly don’t love myself and therefore am not able to properly love others. I am negative and critical of my looks, my weight, my abilities, my shortcomings, my circumstances, and my personality. To be honest, Ladies, we can be very mean to ourselves. We would never speak to a friend the way we talk to or think about ourselves! We must stop this destructive behaviour and thought pattern, and we must learn to love and respect ourselves the same way God loves us. Only then will we be free to love others around us. We owe it to God, and we owe it to our friends, family, and everyone else we interact with.
Let’s give God the very best of our time, energy, resources, and obedience. And let’s joyfully and confidently dare to be the women God created us to be, free to love lavishly and unconditionally!