|Photo courtesy of Aaron Baron|
A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
So, that is the standard, “as I have loved you.” There is no greater love; no higher standard that Jesus Himself. The words of the Lord Jesus rebuke us. When we shun the annoying neighbor, hurry away from the malodorous homeless man – the words of Jesus rebuke us. The memory of His life and sacrifice is sufficient to bring the rebuke.
Jesus gave that new commandment. Yet, can even training of the most steadfast and severe cause us to feel and think and respond along those lines naturally? Can a tiger change his spots? Man’s relationship to man is certainly a mixed bag revealing the depths of the human heart from desperately wicked to sublime saintliness.
But how in every moment of our lives – every crisis and perplexity – do we manage to love as He loved? I would think it is only possible if we become a new creature. Marvel not that I said to you, you must be born again. Without the new birth, trying to live Jesus’ commandment is a goal beyond our human grasp. As new creatures, born again of the Spirit of God, we are enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit to live in accordance to His will. Then it is possible to form the mind of Christ. The ultimate refining comes as we obey His commands and work into our character what God has given by His grace.
The scribes asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus answered. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30,31) When we live these commandments, we will begin to love as He loved us.
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