The Commandment of Christ
Just what is the "Commandment of Christ"? Are you sure you know? Many in God's Church today need this vital information, so read carefully the following simple, yet powerful, message that Christ wants all His followers to fully understand.
In John 15:12, Christ gave "His" commandment to the apostles, "...to love one another as I have loved you." Jesus went on to say, "Greater love has no one than to lay down one's life for his friends." This theme is repeated in I John 3:16: "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
We read in Philippians 2:5 that we must put on the mind of Christ. The great law of God teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus said in Luke 6:40 that every disciple who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
Do we love our own flesh and blood more than our neighbor? If we do, we sin. James 2:9 reads, "If you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." We must learn to love as Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-48, loving our enemy as much as ourselves. God has never told me face to face that He loves me. Yet I know that He does because He called me to be one of His sons. Actions speak louder than words. The written word is an action, it is non-vocal communication between two beings, the writer and the reader. The Holy Scriptures explain God's love for us in writing (someone had to do the writingthe action) set forth by the prophets and the apostles as well as other writers. The actions of these men were divinely inspired by God's Holy Spirit, so you see the word of God in print as action God took to communicate His love for us.
God also communicates His love by the action of answering prayers. He wants only the good things for His children; therefore, if we pray according to His will, we shall have those things we desire. Taking this all into consideration, we see God shows us His love by His actions (works). James 2:16 indicates that professing love is inadequate without proving it by your works.
Most of our problems are brought on by a lack of love. The problems we see in the Church today often stem from misunderstandings about trivial matters of such little importance. How can we consider ourselves "true Christians" if we are so willing to yield ourselves to Satan's devices? Are we not deceiving ourselves? Instead of conquering our problem in love and exhortation of one another, we have weakened and given in, and seek to find a carnal solution. Love is the strength by which we overcome.
While it is true that God and Christ have a special relationship, they wish to share that very special relationship with us. That we can become a part of the God family is the fullness of thiswhen we marry Christ at His second coming. Faith and love share a common characteristic; they both must be put to work. Talking isn't enough. We should all be willing to lay down our lives for each other (I John 3:18). Then the love of God could be perfected in us. Christ set the example when He laid down His life for His friends. He said we should be willing to do the same (John 15:13). Christ also commanded that we have just such love for one another, as stated in verse 12: "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
Love: A Life or Death Matter
How deep is your love for the brethren? Would you die for even the least of them? Have we in some way become complacent in our duty as Christians? Here is a different look at a very important fruit of the Spirit, so important that Paul called it "the greatest." Love is the strength by which we overcome. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins. Therefore, if we are deeply concerned for one another, we will exhort each other to overcome our weaknesses, and in the process, help and support each other.
Love All as Yourself
Christ literally commanded us to become as our Father in heaven (Matt 5:48). As James 2:9 instructs, we are to show no partiality to anyone, but are to love friend, enemy, wife, mom, dad, brother, and sister all the same. Paul commanded that we put on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5). Jesus loved the men that scourged Him and put Him on the stake so much that He asked God to forgive them for their actions. Imagine how much love it took, what deep understanding He must have had, to be able to do this.
God loves us all the same. He is not a respecter of persons. He loves each of us (His begotten sons) just as much as He loved Jesus Christ. How can we know this? Well, I hope that we already know that God does not violate the ten commandments. How could God command us to love our neighbor as ourselves and He Himself not practice this principle? Is God prejudiced?
We are hindered by trivial things of this life. Husbands and wives are often arguing over matters of no importance. The ministers are having to continually preach sermons about problem marriages. The real problem is lack of love, for if we follow Paul's advice and lay aside the weight of this world and grow in deep concern for one another, these problems would disappear. Satan uses the small differences as a point to keep us off balance (prejudices, grudge bearing, ill feelings, etc.). We must be on guard and notice right away when a confrontation is building, and use love to overcome the problem.
Do we love our own flesh and blood (self, spouse, children, etc.) more than others? There has been a great deal of emphasis placed on the family in the past years. There is a very good reason for doing so: the society we live in today is falling apart because of neglect of the family. Yet it is drawing our personal families closer together, causing us to miss the big picture, namely "love your neighbor as yourself." The word "as" is a small but important word, similar to "if." Webster defines "as": equal or in like manner. In John 3:16, an important bit of information leaps out at you if you are sensitive to God's Spirit leading you. Christ communicated His love for us by dying for our sins. We must lay aside the trivial things of this life and concentrate on the work God is doing. Husbands and wives must lay down petty arguments and pull together.
Satan's Wall of Prejudice
Satan is a very powerful spirit being with a mind vastly superior to mortal man. He uses his crafty ways to keep the people of this world deceived. When one is called of God and accepts His calling, and becomes a baptized member of God's Church, he begins an awesome job of overcoming Satan's influence. For until their calling, Satan has had them in his system (world) pumping "prejudice" into their minds. The degree of prejudice varies in each individual, depending on many factors in the complex nature of the human mind.
Each time one's trust in another is compromised (through lies), another brick is added to a wall. This wall separates the minds of individuals, preventing a deep love for one another. The newly called Christian must begin tearing down this wall Satan has built in his mind. The new Christian must now learn to love all people as he loves himself, and must also learn how to properly love himself. He must no longer love his physical mother, father, wife, or children more than he loves even his enemies.
It seems natural to love one's own flesh and blood more than loving strangers or enemies. This has caused all the violence and wars that have plagued mankind for the past six thousand years. Once one is converted, he must put on the mind of Christ. The Bible teaches that God shows no partiality to any man; He loves us all the same, converted or not. God realizes the potential of human beings; after all, He did create them, and He has a master plan for reproducing Himself through them.
In this modern society in which we live, one tends to become caught up in the very process of sustaining life. A job is very important for this reason, as well as other reasons, and is time consuming, usually taking a third or more of one's available hours. For this reason, one might tend to place a higher vaule on his material possessions than he should. It seems that language has its role in this, as one tends to say, "my house, my car, my this, my that." Knowing that God owns it all and has temporarily loaned these things to us during our lives, since we are only pilgrims in this world in this life, makes material possessions seem less important.
Love is the universal language, coming directly from God. Any interaction between intelligent beings that is less than love is wrong. Love is pure and simple, always helping, and never harming. When one is "out of sync" with love, it seems as though it hurts to get "in sync", but it is for one's own good to accept correction, thus realigning himself with the truth (God). Take Christmas, for example: when one learns that this custom is from other religions and not taught in the Bible, at first it is shocking and leaves one dumbfounded. It seems so right to the human mind to involve oneself in the "good will toward men" and tradition of gift giving. After all, Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. But this is not an excuse to take part in celebrations of other religions (Jer 10:2). Pray to the Father that we may be filled with the kind of love that He and Jesus have for all men, even enemies.
Hari Merman, P.O. Box 942, Marana, AZ 85653-0942
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