Day 49 | Love the Lord
June 14, 2015 - WEEK SEVEN
Giuseppe Craffonara, Christus, Image by Buchhändler, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
There is no scripture reading assigned today. Use this day to catch up as needed and ponder the supplemental reading.
[T]here is a significant difference in the breathtaking wording of the first great commandment compared with that of the second commandment. We are to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. But we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves….
The first commandment does not read, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God as thyself.” This would be both too little and the wrong kind of love. Nor does the second commandment read, “Thou shalt love they neighbor with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength.” This would be neighbor worship.
Whereas our Perfect Father can be trusted with our bestowal of all our devotion of heart, mind, soul, and strength, we cannot. Nor can our neighbor. Moreover, only when proper love of God comes first can our love of self and neighbor be safely shaped and nurtured.
Colonial clergyman Jonathan Edwards said, in effect, “What was wrong with believers and unbelievers in general… was that they had little ideas about a little God.” True religion brings us to “a loving of God rather than a believing that one ought to love Him, active concern for the neighbor rather than acceptance of this statement that love of neighbor is very good,” which makes all the difference in the world. (Christian Ethics, New York: Ronald Press, 1955, 383, 385.)
The personality of God involves the balanced perfection of His attributes, which makes Him worthy of worship and adoration. God can safely have absolute power because He also has absolute love and because He is perfect in His judgment. He can give His perfect mercy full play because He is also perfect in His justice. But no such perfection or balance exists either in us or in our neighbors. Thus the extension of our genuine esteem to our neighbors is different in kind and not just degree from that total love we are told to develop for God.
We could, of course, never truly keep the first commandment without also keeping the second commandment. But the second commandment flows from the first commandment, and all the other commandments [run] from the two great commandments (Neal A. Maxwell, Nothwithstanding My Weakness, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981, 24–26).
FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
- How does the gospel bless your life?
- Why do you like going to church?