And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Jesus has called us to love…love God with our all…love all with our all.
Yet, we doubt and hem-and-haw in thinking we are just unable to do these. Yes, we are unable, in our own strength. We love God when we feel like it, when we think we are able, or when all is going well. We love our neighbors when we like them, when they are good to us, or when we feel like it.
Yet, these are two commandments that we have been given. How can we love unconditionally? How can we wholly love God and our neighbors?
In this season of Thanksgiving, I, as well as other bloggers, are sharing about gratitude, being thankful for family and friends, gifts and love. We may list the beauty we see, words we hear, or smiles that rain joy upon us. We seek to recognize these gifts in our own strength so much of the time: Let’s see…what am I grateful for right today? What did I see that I am thankful for?
Is giving thanks something done alone through my efforts? Can I be thankful without condition? Do I expect something in return for my gratitude?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
As children of the Father, we are being given gifts of His choosing. He wants us to have His pleasures so that we will take them to another, whether by service, by inspiration, by love. He is not telling us to go out and give on some conditional basis of our choosing, but, with His gifts, go to those to whom He chooses to gift with that which we have been given. This giving is unconditionally loving.
Dependence upon the One Who is Love, obedience to the One Who calls us to love Him and others…this is how we are able to love unconditionally. I am only the variable in the equation. God is the constant. Love is the constant.
God x God(x) = Love
constant x constant(variable/me) = constant
We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God Whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21
Loving God unconditionally is showing gratitude. Loving our neighbors unconditionally is showing gratitude.
These past many, many months have been extremely difficult months to bear. We are the children of the Father of lights. Let us now turn on our lights, gifts from our Father, and shine in this world so filled with hatred and darkness. Let us take the lights and shine them into our neighbors’ lives and be thankful. In being a light, I am honoring my Father. I am so grateful to Him. He created me, making me a light in this world.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” Luke 11:33
Let us give and serve and be thankful.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11
Let us be not afraid to step into the world. God is with us always.
Father God, Your love glows inside of me. I want it to glow outside of me and rid these corners where I walk of darkness. Strengthen me physically and spiritually so that I may do that which You have called me. Guide me in the way that I should go. May I remain faithful and grateful to You. My desire is to be pleasing unto You. May my mind know Your Truth. May my body find peace in You. May my heart always seek Your face. And may my strength be built upon Yours. May I know the constancy of You, Father, for You are my Constant. I pray in the Name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
Top Photo used with permission from: http://www.gloriadei-sd.org/