“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied, ‘LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22:36-40; see also Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18)
It dawned on me recently that, as many times as I’ve read this passage, I’ve been ‘reading’ it wrong. I saw the word “love”, but in my mind and heart I’ve been interpreting it as ‘serve.’ “Serve; obey the Lord your God….” But that’s not what it says. That’s not what Jesus said. One can serve and obey for other reasons, other motivations, other than love. But God doesn’t want just service, just obedience. “LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” God desires a lover. Out of the motivation of love there will be genuine service, genuine obedience. When we love God and find ourselves in God’s loving embrace, how can we not serve Him, obey Him!? (cf. John 14:23,24) And when we find ourselves loving God and being loved by God, then (and, perhaps, only then) we will be able to fulfill the second great commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We may be able to serve others, in a fashion, but if we are not living out of and from the center of Love, then we will not be able to love others as we love ourselves. In fact, to truly and rightly ‘love ourselves,’ we must live out of from the center of God’s love for us.
This may explain, at least in part, why I sometimes have difficultly serving and loving [certain] others: “Am I living out of the center of God’s love for me? Am I giving myself to love, and then, giving myself in love?”
Love God… love others- “all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt.22:40). So there you have it. Love is the fulfillment of the law (cf Romans 13:10). Christ fulfilled the law by the ‘law of love’ (see Galatians 5:13-15). “Help us, Father God, to live in and out from YOUR LOVE, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”