Mark 12:30. 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.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandment in the Law is the commandment to love God and to love our neighbors. Now, as we’ve mentioned many times before, this law is impossible to keep apart from the grace of God. But what does this mean? How do we obey a law from grace rather than obeying a law from Law?
Here it is in a nutshell: When you love God and others (or obey any command) in order to achieve righteousness, or gain God’s love in return, you are operating from under Law.
When you love God and others from an understanding and resting in God’s unconditional and perfect love for you that has already been fully received through Christ, you are operating from under grace.
Obeying the law of love, or the commandment to love God and others from Law will only destroy love in your heart. If you are loving only to receive in return, that is not real love. And over time it will turn any real love into expectations, manipulations, guilt, bitterness, and eventually hatred. If you are loving only to achieve righteousness, then your success or failure will soon dictate how you love. You will compare your law keeping to others. It will become “I have to love” instead of “I get to love.”
Obeying the law of love, and the commandment to love God and others from grace is the only way to truly learn to love. Because now your love is flowing from faith in God’s grace, not from your own ability or power. You will love from the overflow of your heart not from an empty “love tank.”
The great paradox is that we are called to obey a law- the law of love. But we are no longer called to obey that law from the power of Law. But rather from the power of grace. From the power of love received. “We love God because He FIRST loved us.”
Have you received the grace of this love? Or are you still trying to earn it?