The Greatest Commandment

God’s law has standards and morals that he requires of those wishing to gain eternal life. Occasionally I get asked questions about my faith as it relates to this law. Often these are questions about specific actions and whether or not I hate someone who practices this or that. Sometimes those requirements would seem to exclude people who practice certain common lifestyles and often people think there is hate involved in such thoughts.

Sadly, with the state of this world we live in sometimes people do respond to differing views with hate. As a Christian all I am concerned with is what does Jehovah think? I think it is important to always bring it back to what Jehovah says. In Matthew chapter 22 when one of the Pharisees asked Jesus “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” this is what he had to say:

He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40 (NWT)

Notice that last little bit: “On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets”. The whole Law hangs on Love. This is Gods commandment. True he does have requirements, and if you want to follow Jehovah’s commandments you must “Love your neighbor as yourself”. So, wherever you find a lack of love, know that you are not finding Jehovah’s people. They must have love.

As our creator Jehovah knows us better than we know ourselves. His law isn’t some contrived set of rules to hinder or limit the free will he gave us, it is a set of commandments to help us benefit ourselves. Much in the same way as you may tell a child “Don’t touch that hot stove”, Jehovah is trying to protect us from things that can cause harm. Listen to what Jehovah tells us in the book of Isaiah:

If only you would pay attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would become just like a river
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:18 (NWT)

Here we see God is telling us if we follow his commandments our peace will become like a river. Although I stumble daily, I can personally attest to the “before” and “after” in my life and the peace I have been afforded is a blessing I do not want to lose. The thing is, I am no different than any of you. I struggled with my own shortcomings (I continue to struggle to some degree). In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 several behaviors unacceptable to Jehovah are outlined. In fact there are ten of them listed here. You know what, I am guilty of at least seven of the ten. But you know what, in the very next verse we read “and yet that is what some of you were” (1 Corinthians 6:11). What some of you were! These were approved Christians from the first century Paul was writing to, men who Jehovah poured out his blessings on! Jehovah helped them overcome the weaknesses of their flesh, and he helped me too.

Jehovah wanted us to follow his law because we have love for him, so he gave us free will. We were given the law not to limit what we can do, but to protect us and help us to achieve the best life possible. It also provides us with a way to show Jehovah our love and trust for him. Jehovah created us, he knows what we need far better than we do. And he knows that for us to have peace flowing like a river we should have love.

So next time you’re thinking about God’s law, and wondering if all of those commandments and requirements that we all fall short of means God doesn’t love you, remember the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew: The entire Law of Jehovah hangs on Love! Love of God, and love of your neighbor and as 1 John 4:16 says “God is love“. Put God first, everyone else second and you too can have peace that flows like a river!

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