A Life that Does Not Need to Worry

The Lord knows how fragile we are and our tendency to worry. He tells us not to worry. He makes it very clear and says “Do not worry”.

Matthew 6:25-33 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Lord knows that we need food, shelter and clothing. He says “do not worry”. He says that He feeds the birds and that they do not even store up but He feeds all of the birds every day of their lives. Amazing. He says not to worry about our clothing. He knows that we need clothes. He began by clothing Adam and Eve in the garden and He will provide clothing for his children. Do you need shelter? Yes! He will provide for you. All of these things the world eagerly seeks but He tells us to seek Him and His kingdom and righteousness and all of these things will be added to us. God is faithful. Do not worry about His part but be concerned that you do what He has called you to do and that is to be faithful to His commands and instructions to you.

Psalm 37:25 I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.

He also says not to worry about tomorrow. He truly knows how we are made and how tempting it is to worry about tomorrow so He tells us to not even worry about tomorrow.

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Do you have troubles today. Yes, we all will have struggles and troubles but the Lord says that He is a present help in time of trouble.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Go to Him with your struggles and trouble. He is not only an eternal Savior but He is a present Savior who will show Himself strong on behalf of those who turn to Him with all of their heart.

II Chronicles 16:9a For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

 

A Life that Chooses the Light

Life can be narrowed down to two basic choices and these choices determine the quality of our lives, the direction of our lives and the end of our lives. The two choices are that we can either go towards the light or we can go towards the darkness. If we go towards the light then we will receive more light and will eventually reflect the light to others.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

In Christ alone is life and His life is the Light of men.

John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

When we receive Christ then we receive the life and we receive the light.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

Jesus Christ is the light that gives light to everyone who receives Him and He enlightens every man.

John 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

You can come to the light through believing in Jesus Christ or you can remain in darkness. The choice is yours.

John 12:46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

If you choose to remain in darkness then your “world” will become darker and darker and you will not be able to see life clearly. You will live in a state of confusion and will stumble through life without peace.

I Corinthians 14:33a for God is not a God of confusion but of peace,

The reason why people do not come to the Light is because they want to go their own way and do what they want to do. The end is frustration, defeat and death.

John 3:19,20 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

After death, those who chose darkness with receive judgment for the choices of sin they made. They could have chosen light and life but they chose darkness, judgment and eternal torment and death.

Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

Those who chose the light and the life of Jesus Christ will see Jesus when He appears a second time for salvation without a reference to sin to those who eagerly await Him. They chose to turn from darkness to the light and received light, life and eternal salvation and life.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

A Life Blessed by Love and Truth

It was God’s love and His truth that was His gift to us in Jesus Christ. He took the initiative and loved us and made known the truth to us and made it available to us to become right with God.

Proverbs 16:6a By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,

Our sin was atoned for through the death of Jesus Christ. He took the punishment and penalty for sin that we deserved. We are forgiven through Him and it was His love and His righteousness that we received. Atonement was made for us that we might have the gift of forgiveness and our guilt removed.

Leviticus 14:31 He shall offer what he can afford, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, together with the grain offering. So the priest shall make atonement before the Lord on behalf of the one to be cleansed.

Jesus was the lamb of God that took our guilt away and cleansed us from our sin.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

As many as will receive the gift of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, who died for the world shall receive the gift of salvation, the removal of their guilt and the cleansing from their sin and they will become “at one” with God and become His child and a part of His family. God, the Father, receives those who receive Jesus Christ because of what Jesus did.

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

 

A Life Living in Love and Truth

As you learn to live in God’s love and truth then you will soar in life. Your life will have purpose and meaning and you will experience great joy and fulfillment.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

God’s love and God’s truth are eternal.

Psalm 117:2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord is everlasting.
Praise the Lord!

As you live in His love and truth then you will being living the eternal life that He came to bring to you. You will have eternal values and eternal treasures.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

As you walk in His truth and His love then you will be doing what He has called you to do.

I John 2:3-6 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

His commandments are love and truth. If you love Him then you will keep His commandments and if you keep His commandments then you will be loving others as He has loved you. Jesus was full of love and truth and kept His Father’s commandments. He wants us to walk in the same manner as he Himself also walked.

I John 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

When you love others then you will not make them stumble nor will you stumble. For this reason there are some activities that are not a right or wrong issue but they are “love” issues because they would make someone stumble. If you love your brother then you will not do anything to make Him stumble. You will restrict your “freedom” out of love for your brother.

Romans 14:15-21 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.

If you eat certain foods (that were sacrificed to idols) or drink wine and make your brother stumble then you are not walking according to love. The word “good” in this passage means the highest form of love. If you are not loving your brother then this issue is not just a love issue but has become a sin issue. Even though the activity may not be “sin” for you, the very action has become sin because it is not loving your brother.

I John 3:10b anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

If you are a Christian and belong to Him then the commandment that He has given you is to love your brother. If you keep His commandments then you will abide in His love and His love will abide in you.

 

A Life that Knows the Kindness of God

The kindness of God is truly amazing. His kindness was shown towards us when we were at our worse and it is His kindness that leads us to repent.

Romans 2:4,5 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

The kindness of God has come to us through sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and to be raised again from the dead. We can repent of our sins and be restored to a relationship if God or we can be stubborn and keep an unrepentant heart by going our own way. The Lord does not want us to experience His wrath but if we refuse the kindness of God then wrath will be the righteous judgment of God.

Romans 11:22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

The Lord’s instruction to you if you have experienced His kindness is to continue in His kindness. God’s love and kindness is for those who belong to Him and obey Him. God’s wrath is being stored up for the unrepentant person but His wrath is also evident today against all unrighteousness and ungodliness. If you do unrighteousness and ungodliness then you will experience the wrath of God that is poured out on these activities. When you suppress the truth of God, which is written in His Word, then you will do ungodliness and unrighteousness. You will experience pain and destruction of your body and soul.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Belief and obedience go hand in hand. This is what it means to trust and obey. Trust and obey Him that your soul may live and praise Him. When your soul lives it experiences the kindness and love of God and you will want to praise Him.

Psalm 119:175,176 Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

All of our hearts are prone to wander and to go astray. We are like sheep and we go astray at times. Pray to Him and He will seek you. Come back to Him and again trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.

 

A Life Knowing the Beginning of Wisdom

If you want to know wisdom and receive wisdom then you must start at the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge. If we don’t have wisdom then we will be frustrated, hurt, disappointed and weary. If we continue on a path of a lack of wisdom in a certain area then we will eventually become discouraged and want to give up. It will not seem worth it. What seemed like a “gift” will have become a burden. Life is sweet with wisdom and the gifts that God has given to us are sweet if done God’s way. If you have not experienced the “sweetness” of relationships, marriage, children or whatever good thing you long for then ask yourself if you started at the beginning of wisdom in these particular areas.

Proverbs 9:10,11 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.

When your life is sweet then your days are full and your life is long and satisfying. This is God’s design for us. He never designed us for great sorrow but we bring it on ourselves when we choose to do life without the Giver of life.

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death.

If you want to live life to the fullest then you must have wisdom but before you can have wisdom you must fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. When you fear the Lord then your life will overflow. You will avoid the snares of death. Death is not only physical but there is death to the soul which is the guilt, defeat, frustration and emptiness which results when we go our own way. There can also be death to relationships and marriages. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the fountain of life then what does it mean to fear the Lord?

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogance. Evil means the opposite of God’s ways. Our hearts are bent on evil and the end of evil is grief. Pride is believing that we can do it on our own and we do not need God. Arrogance is the pride of knowledge and thinking that we “know”, therefore we do not need wisdom. The evil way is “having it our own way” and this permeates everything we do and begins in early childhood. We have to learn God’s ways and they do not come naturally. The one who fears God will also hate the “perverted” mouth. Any form of cursing or taking God’s name is vain is a form of the perverted mouth. Do you allow yourself to speak what is profane or to listen to or read any perversions of the mouth? Since it is not within us to “fear God”, then how do we learn to fear God?

Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.

God’s Word is what will produce in you a fear of God. If you want to live life to the fullest then you must have wisdom. To receive wisdom then you must have the fear of the Lord. If you want to learn to fear the Lord then you must go to God’s Word and have it be established in your life. Once God’s Word is established in your life then His Word will produce in your heart a heart that fears God.

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

The fear of the Lord will prolong your life.

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.

In the fear of the Lord you will have strong confidence.

Psalm 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

When you fear the Lord then you will sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.

Humility is the opposite of pride and it is acknowledging that you need the Lord. Fearing God is acting on that humility and seeking Him with all of your heart. The reward of these two things are riches, honor and life.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

Greatest of all, when you fear the Lord then His eye will be on you. When you learn to fear Him then you will realize that you need not ever fear anything else. This is what it means to live a life of “no fear”.

 

 

 

 

 

A Life that Is a Blessing to Others

The Lord wants us to be a blessing to others. This is one aspect of what it means to be a witness of who the Lord is. He is good and He wants to show to others who He is through Christians. NonChristians do not have the correct view of God due to our fallen natures from the sin of Adam and Eve. The devil has distorted our view of God and often it is twisted. We do not really believe the Lord loves us because if we did then we would run to Him. It is easy to believe that God is mad at us or that if we trusted Him with everything then He would do with us what we do not want and would deprive us of things that we think would make us happy. The list is endless of the lies that Satan has put into the heart of man of who God really is. None of the lies are true but we will never know that until we come to Him.

Acts 14:17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.

The Lord is good and He gives to us even when we do not deserve it. He loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son. All who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are blessed.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

When we receive Jesus Christ then we receive every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

He blessed us that we might be a blessing to others. He wants us to be a witness of who He is. John the Baptist was the first witness of who Jesus Christ is.

John 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.

The Lord wants us to be a witness of who He is that others may believe in Him. He is not desiring that any should perish but that all might believe in Him.

John 15:26,27 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The purpose of a witness is to testify about something or someone. We are to testify to the world that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He is the only One who can do this because He is God and took the penalty for our sin. We are to testify that God is good by the works that we do, which are to be good works because God is good.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The Lord Jesus Christ has saved us by His grace through faith in Him. Not as a result of any works that we have done but that we may do good works and testify to the world who He is, that He is good.

Titus 3:3-5a For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,

We all were foolish at one time, being disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in doing wrong and having evil in our hearts– but He saved us. He showed us mercy and forgave us and He wants us to go out into the world and do the same. Is there anyone you need to forgive and show mercy to? That person may be the one whom Jesus Christ wants to save next. The greatest blessing that we can give to others is to show them who God is through our lives and remove any obstacles that prevent them from coming to know Him as their Savior and Lord.

 

 

 

A Life of Blessed Faith

There are two kinds of faith. There is a faith that is an intellectual faith where we believe with our minds. The other kind of faith is a heart faith. We can believe with our minds but not with our hearts. Many people believe with their minds but few believe with their hearts. When Jesus walked on earth there were the two kinds of faith evidenced. When we have heart faith God changes and saves us but intellectual faith only pacifies the one with it and there are no changes.

Matthew 21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

Many of the religious leaders believed that John the Baptist came in the way of righteousness but they did not believe with their hearts but only with their minds. Heart faith will act on the words which are heard. The words will go into their hearts and effect a change within the heart that will be seen in the actions of the person. Many of the tax collectors and prostitutes had heart faith and their lives were changed.

Luke 8:5-8a “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.”

Jesus knew the hearts of men and so He told this parable to the people about the different kinds of hearts. This is a parable about the hearts of men. Three of these people believed the Word of God but only one had an honest and good heart faith.

Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

In the first soil the Word of God is kept from entering the mind or the heart of the hearer. In the second soil the Word of God only enters the mind but never goes into the heart of the hearer. In time the recipient falls away because the Word of God never took root in their heart. The third soil heard the Word of God but because their hearts were already so cluttered and filled with other things the Word of God never took deep roots in those hearts either. Their lives did not bear mature fruit. The last person heard the Word of God with an honest and good heart. They held the Word of God fast to their hearts and bore fruit with perseverance.

Mark 4:20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

The same parable is repeated in the Gospel of Mark and the word “hear” means “keeps on hearing” in the original language of the Bible. It is a continuation of hearing and not just hearing once but “keeping on hearing”. This is how we hold fast the Word of God in our hearts. Since no one was born with an “honest and good heart” we need to hear the Word continually so that the Word of God will do its work of cleansing in our hearts so that we can receive the Word with an “honest and good heart”.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Once we receive the Word of God with an “honest and good heart” then we need to persevere in applying it to our lives so that we might bear fruit. All of us have need of perseverance. The Lord takes us to new levels of obedience and faith and stretches us toward maturity that is reached through perseverance and endurance.

Hebrews 10:36-39 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

If you find that you are weak in faith and need encouragement then read God’s Word for He will speak to your heart. Go and talk to a more mature Christian whose faith has been tested and who has endured and persevered when there did not seem much hope. The Lord is faithful but sometimes we need to reminded and encouraged. Don’t lose heart. Pray to the Lord and He will help you. This is His instruction to us when our faith is weak and our heart is faint.

Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,

 

 

A Life Blessed Beyond Measure

If you really want to live a blessed life then take God at His Word. He loves it when we believe Him and trust Him completely. He is faithful to His Word and He has told us that it is impossible for God to lie, so if this is true, then live according to His promises.

Hebrews 6:17,18 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

The promised life is a life that is blessed beyond measure. If you have received Jesus Christi as your Lord and Savior then you are a child of God and if you are a child of God then you are an heir of all of the promises of God.

Romans 8:15-17a For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,

If you have received Christ then you have been adopted into His family and you can cry out to God, the Father and call Him, “Abba”, which is another name for Daddy. If His Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are His child then you are an heir of God and a fellow heir with Jesus Christ. All of the promises are yours in Christ Jesus and they are true. However, you must believe them to experience them. There is no limit to His love when you believe Him.

Psalm 103:11-13 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

He has removed your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. The east and the west will never meet, so in the same way, you will never have to face your sins again if you are His child. He has removed them from you. His lovingkindness towards you is beyond measure because it is as high as the heavens are above the earth and this distance can not be measured. If you want to be blessed beyond measure then learn to live in the Father’s love for you. It is expressed through His promises. Jesus lived the life of ultimate faith in earth and He lived according to the Father’s promises for Him. Jesus Christ went to the cross believing the Father would raise Him from the dead. Jesus Christ went before us and showed us how to live in the Father’s love and how to live by faith in the promises of God. Jesus Christ rested in the promises of God and came to lead us into that same rest.

Hebrews 4:1-3a Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest,

If you have heard the good news of the Gospel then where are you in entering into the rest that He has promised? Have you begun the journey of knowing God in a personal way through Jesus Christ?

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

If then, you have received Him, are you walking by faith and believing His promises or is there some unbelief in your heart?

Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

We received Christ by faith and He wants us to walk by faith…faith in the promises of God. Is your faith weak? Read God’s Word. Faith comes through hearing the Word of God. The Lord will speak to you through His Word and He wants you to believe it. However, if you are not hearing Him speak to you then maybe He has spoken to you at an earlier time and you are still not believing and acting on what He has already spoken to you about earlier.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Unbelief is what will keep you from a relationship with the Lord and unbelief will hinder your journey with the Lord and your growth as a Christian.

 

 

How to Avoid a Life Empty of Love

Love is a basic human need for a healthy development and happy relationships yet it seems illusive at times and often the ones that we “hate” the most are those closest to us or that we have been close to at some time. How do we love others on a long term basis and keep loving, happy, healthy relationships? Love is the greatest commandment and if we fulfill this commandment then we will fulfill them all.

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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 foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Just as moral excellence is the root of love so love is the foundation of the Law and Prophets. The Law was to teach us how to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. The prophets were continually calling the people back to loving the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind and their neighbor as well. There is no peace, love or joy apart from love. There is no love apart from God, for God is love. Remove God from society, families and all relationships and you will eventually remove love.

I John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The opposite of loving God and others is selfishness. Selfishness is loving ourselves at the expense of someone else. It is taking and not giving. It is me and not you. No one can serve two masters. He will either love the one and hate the other or vice versa.

Matthew 6:24a No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

You can not love yourself first and love God second. You must love God first and that will include loving others and then you love yourself next. If you love God first then He will watch out for your interests and He will be your security and defense. If you love yourself first then you will not be loving others the way you should. All of your “love” for others will be selfcentered and not love for them at all. There will always be a conflict of interests. For this reason, the Lord says that if we are to follow Him and love Him then we must die to ourselves.

Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This is what it means to take up your cross daily, it is to die to yourself. The cross represents death. You can not truly love others if you do not learn to die to yourself. When you get married, the question is not, “Do I love this person more than everyone else?”. No rather, the question should be, “Do I love this person more than myself?”. If you truly love your mate more than yourself then you will truly love that person the way the Lord wants you to love them and there will never be another person that you will ever love in the same way (while you both shall live) because all marital unfaithfulness is all about loving yourself. Most marriages that fail began with selfishness and ended with selfishness in one or both spouses. Selfishness is loving or not wanting someone else for what they have or don’t have to offer to you.

I John 4:7-9 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression and manifestation of love. If you want to know love then you must know Jesus Christ. He came into the world to love and He loves everyone and the gift of His love is offered to everyone. Whoever will receive Jesus Christ will receive His love. We can not love others with a Godlike love without Jesus Christ.

I John 4:10-12 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

Jesus loved us and took our sins that we might receive and live in His love. He came that we might be able to love God and love others as He has loved us. If you know Jesus Christ then you will know true love and His love will be perfected in you. When you live in His love then His love will overflow into the lives of others. The life of love, joy and peace will truly overflow within you and you will begin to experience heaven on earth and what it means to live in His kingdom.

I John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Hate comes from unresolved anger and unresolved anger comes from unforgiveness from being hurt. If you have been hurt and still struggling to forgive then take that hurt to the Lord and ask Him to help you forgive. He went to the cross to forgive us and because He has forgiven us then we can forgive others. He is the source of all love and because He loves us then we too can love others even those who previously seemed unlovable. You will also find that as you love others then your life will be filled with the love of others. Through Him we can love the world and everyone in it but apart from Him we can love no one.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”