Matthew 22:37-40 “ 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. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
One of the new trends on social media are the various “challenges”. There’s the “you name it challenge”, the “mannequin challenge”, the ice water challenge” and various others. However, one particular challenge that was the most meaningful to me was the “love challenge”, or “love your spouse challenge”, based off of the movie, “Love Dare”. This challenge, did not focus on dancing, or on determining how still you could be, or how silly you may look, or even how much physical and mental strength you possessed in order to have a bucket of water dumped on your head. But this one focused on how much love you could show towards another person. The challenge of how much love you were able and willing to show daily, despite the disagreements, arguments, and issues present was the task.
In this particular scripture, Jesus is being challenged by the Pharisees. He’s being challenged on his judgment on the greatest commandment. In the beginning of this chapter, leading up to verse 34, Jesus is challenged on several topics in a tag team challenge-a-thon between the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Scribes. Each time Jesus is faced with leadership tests, He proves his integrity by handling the situation expertly and wisely. After shutting down the Sadducees, the Pharisees felt the need to challenge him once again, however this time, an “expert” lawyer asked him which commandment was the greatest in the law. Not only did he say to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, but he goes even deeper and says you must love your neighbor as yourself. Well, some may find that it’s easy to love God for he is the supreme ruler of our lives that blesses us day in and out, however, at times, it’s a challenge to love our neighbor.
Galatians 5:14 states, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word (or one sentence), as we love our neighbor as ourself. In other words, the whole will of God containing our duty towards men is encompassed in this one thing called the love challenge. As Romans 8:8 states, He that loves another has fulfilled the law. 1 John 4:20 breaks it down even further to say that you cannot love God who you have not seen until you first love your neighbor. Jesus expects us to love and when we are not showing love, we are not displaying that we belong to God. We as Christians, should be displaying love not only to our family and friends, but also to strangers, employers, the waitress at your favorite restaurant and the young kid that is washing your car. Every commandment that relates to others, is embodied in this one commandment. However, there may be a challenge for someone to honor and love an absent father or a drug addicted mother, an unruly, and unfair boss, or an abusive boyfriend. It may be difficult for someone to love that man that murdered your sister, or the dishonest co-worker that lied on you to rise to the top. This challenge of loving someone that has wronged you is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be easy, once you surrender your will to God, God will lead and guide you in taking on his supernatural agape love. His agape love will allow you to naturally love those that have wronged you and even those that are new to your circle. God’s love allows us to love beyond what we see, feel, or think and give us the opportunity to love on his merit.
This love challenge requires submission and true devotion , are you up for the challenge?