And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (Mark 12:28 ESV)
We Need Love:
The scribe did not ask that question with a genuine intention of learning from the Lord but I am glad he asked that question! Because the answer that Jesus gave to that question forms the complete basis for Christianity. The whole gospel of Jesus Christ starts with God so “Loving” the world! It has always been about love. The God whose very being is love came down in the form of a mortal human being in Jesus to redeem the world that he SO loved!! That’s why all that he expected back from us is love. That we love him and love one another as we love ourselves. How I wish that this be taught more often in churches and revival meetings! The Christian ministry scene would have been completely different today! All the ministry competition, the sheep stealing, the lack of unity, the lack of fervency, the lack of holiness, the lack of accountability so vividly evident in the church today can be attributed to this one basic fault – Lack of Love!! What is the one practice in the first century church which we have never again seen probably in the entire church history? It is everybody sharing their private properties and finances! I am not sure if that has ever been reproduced after the first century church!
The Three Loves:
Jesus answered in two simple statements “Love God with everything and Love people around you as your own selves” Is that it? All the complicated theology, the commandments and the teachings of the scripture is just about it? The whole of the Law and the Prophets is summed up in these two Commandments. (Matthew 22:40) What Jesus is implying was “you do this, you have done it all” Check out Galatians 5:22,23 to find a very similar phrase. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Paul says, walk in the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (v.16) and walking in the Spirit yields this fruit! Love, joy, peace… that’s it. No law or prophets come above it! Notice it is not fruits! Its singular. Its just one thing. The whole bundle of qualities mentioned there can be summed up in just one word – LOVE! How can we love God without loving people? (1 John 4:20) and How can we love people if we don’t love ourselves? (Mark 12:31) In simple words its about Loving God, Loving people and Loving Ourselves.
Fruit is Love:
The nine fold fruit of the Spirit can also be understood within this context. The first three qualities i.e. Love, Joy and Peace is experienced in our relationship with God. And I mean true unconditional love; not the puppy love exhibited in the movies of today, fullness and completeness of Joy; not the limited ones experienced in discos and pubs of today and peace that surpasses all understanding; not the one that comes from injecting a sedative or consuming a drug/alchohol! Loving people is not just about sending text messages, greetings and flowers. Its about exhibiting patience, kindness and goodness in our everyday dealings with people around us. Its love in action, not just in words. Loving ourselves is not just about getting good education, haircut and looks! Its more about living and maintaining our lives in a way that we be found faithful, humble and pure in the sight of God. Christian life is more about the being and less about the doing!! The love of Christ should controls us to an extent that it should transform all of our character traits and the way we relate to God, people and ourselves!
Isaiah saw the beauty of the Lord, the wretchedness of his own human nature and the need to reach out to people around him. (Isaiah 6) It is very much important to come to a correct perspective in the way we view God, the way we deal with men and the way we consider ourselves! Let me ask you a question, which relationship in your life needs the healing touch of God’s love to flow through? Is it your walk with God? Is it the way you view yourself? Or is it in your everyday relationships? Love is the primary thing, if you have it, you have’em all!!