What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Love – The Basis of All Relations

Jesus said, “‘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’” (Matthew 22:37-39 also Luke 10:27). In this verse, the Savior quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5. The Hebrew word here translated “love” is a general term that means “desire,” “affection,” “inclination,” or the intimate cleaving of a person to another.

Jesus quoted the phrase “To love the neighbor as your self” (Matthew 5:43; 19:19; Luke 10:27–29) from Leviticus 19:18, where the word “neighbor” was understood to represent a fellow Israelite. But Jesus widened the definition of “neighbor” to include all who are in need of help (Luke 10:29–37).

Christianity calls for all that a man is and has—his mind, his affections, and his actions (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The word “heart” refers to the feelings, desires, and will of a person. It is the source of all action (Exodus 31:6; 36:2; 2 Chronicles 9:23; Ecclesiastes 2:23). The word “soul” means the stimulating principle in a man. The word translated “might” refers to the things that a man obtains in his life.

Man’s natural inclination is to put self first, regardless of duties mandatory upon him in his relations to God and to his fellow men. But to be perfectly selfless in dealing with his fellows, a man must first love God above all. For this is the very basis of all godly behavior. Devotion for God, if truly present in the heart will be revealed in every aspect of the life.

God’s Law Summed In Love

The law of love toward God and man was not new. Jesus affirmed that the Old Testament is nothing more nor less than a description of the two great laws—love for God and man. However, He was the first to tie the principles of Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 and Leviticus 19:18 and summed it up as “the whole duty of man,” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14), though the prophet Micah talked about the same concept (Micah 6:8).

The believer’s relation to God is built on love (1 John 4:19), and it is the essential principle of God’s law (Mark 12:29, 30). Eden was lost through disobedience and will be regained through obedience. Therefore, to love perfectly is to obey unreservedly (John 14:15; 15:10). Before a person can obey God’s law (Romans 8:3,4) by the grace of Christ, there must first be charity in the heart. Obedience without this principle is meaningless. When there is charity in the heart, the believer will naturally set his life in line with the will of God as expressed in His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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