God will never ask us to do anything He hasn’t done first!

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The first commandment is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind.  This is absolutely the MOST important thing. (Deut 6:4-5, Ex 20:1-3, Mark 12:28-30)

The second commandment, while not equal, is also important.  We are to love our neighbors–to love EVERYONE with the love He’s shown us.  This is the second most important thing, and is catalyzed by our love for the Lord.  (Mat 22:36-49, Luke 10:25-37)

When Jesus commands us to love other people, it’s not arbitrary, it’s because HE LOVES them.  It’s Jesus giving us His heart for the people of the world–whether they will choose Him or not.  We can love the lovable and unlovable only through Him.  This is why the first commandment is first and the second is second!  Without a firm love of the Lord, we really can’t make ourselves love–we can go through the actions (even with enthusiasm), but that’s all it is: working out the expression of love rather than actually loving from that deep place in our spirits.  (1 John 4:7-21)

We connect to Jesus solely to experience Him, know Him, and love Him.  And as we enter into that relationship, He begins to give us His heart.  Our heart begins to break for the people we never thought we could like, let alone love; and it’s such a deep love that we are stirred to outwardly demonstrate that love through evangelism, giving, service, and many of the other spiritual gifts.  We can’t help but love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

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