Director of Missions
First Things First
Jesus was speaking to a lawyer among the Pharisees who asked Him a question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat. 22:34-40). The power in this passage cannot be over stated. If an individual or a church were to always measure their spiritual health by these commands, we would all suffer less unnecessary chaos and calamity in our lives. The decline of the local church can be traced back to this passage in Scripture. If the Church fails to place Christ first in every decision they make then obviously they will be walking contrary to God’s will. If the Church fails to love each other as the Scripture commands then unity will put on its coat and walk out the door. James 4:1 says, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desire for pleasure that war in your members?” Our selfish desires to win an argument, for the sake of the argument, or to fail to count others peoples interest above our own (Phil. 2:4) has torn many a Church in two. Listen to the wisdom of the Psalmist; Proverbs 20:3 “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” And in 2 Timothy 2:23-24 we find, “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” Remember the second part of the commandment Jesus gave to the lawyer was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” According to Matthew 22:39 this command was like the first. Loving your neighbor as yourself was synonymous with loving God with all your heart. These two commands are inseparable. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Could it be that in order for a Church or individual believer to flourish and grow that they must live out the greatest command by loving the Lord with all they are and by loving their neighbor as themselves? 1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.’” We need to keep the “First Things First” and from that will flow unity, blessings, obedience, people being saved, the Church growing and flourishing, and the Kingdom of God advancing into all the earth.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Serving the King Together