*The following is part of a series called “A Changed Perspective” to challenge the way in which we view the world, culture, people, and places from a biblical perspective. Undoubtedly, for Christ followers to live in the world but not be of the world is a challenging task, but with humble spirits, teachable hearts, the Word of God, and His Spirit that lives within to guide and lead us, He allows us to be part of His redemptive work in the world around us.
“37 And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)
The birth of Christ, foretold by the prophets of old, marked the beginning of what would be a radical restoration for humanity by God the Father. What Mankind had grossly expounded upon to become the 613 Jewish laws were simplified to two groundbreaking commandments: love God and love others. Can it really be that simple?
The Christ Child came into a broken world, offering hope to wise men and shepherds alike. He went on to live a perfect life of obedience in submission to God and, in turn, asks us to pour forth the same love to others. This season, I wonder: How does my gratitude for the birth of Christ manifest itself in these two commandments? Am I responding to Christ’s fulfillment of the law, His ultimate sacrifice, His agape love, by loving others through the lens of His redemptive love for all people?We all know it’s easy to love those you love — your family and friends, but what does it look like for us to love those who are not as easy to love? Those who challenge and frustrate us, perhaps even annoy or scare us? “Who” that is is different for each of us, but our response as Christ-followers must still be the same: love God and love others.
The challenge for myself and the question I pose to you is: How can we more clearly model these two commandments through our actions, words, prayers in our homes, our workplaces, and in our community at large? This Christmas season, may we keep His agape love at the center of all we do. After all, isn’t that why God sent His son? So that we might love others as He has loved us, and so glorify His name?
by Lisa Reinschmidt