“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Jesus, from Matthew 22:37-40)
I find it very revealing that, at the very heart of what God seeks in our relationship with Him, is love. What Jesus is telling us is monumental. He is saying that the entire Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets) can be boiled down to just three points of focus. Love God. Love yourself. Love people. Everything that God is looking to see in us… is tied to love.
But why would that be?
The answer rests in what we have been talking about – but we so often miss it. The answer is tied to our true identity. It is based in what we were created to be. So what is our true identity?
We discover it in God’s recorded reason for creating us in the first place… “Let us make man in Our Image…”
At the core of this reason is a truth. God made us to be the physical representations of the unseen Spiritual God. A living, breathing, flesh-and-blood picture of the invisible God.
And how is God described in Scripture? Very simply, and succinctly: “God is love.”
So… If God is love, and we were created in His Image, then we were created to love. To love God. To love our selves. To love other people. Our true identity is… love.
That is why sin is such a problem. Sin distorts us. It deforms us. It shackles us. It causes us to forget our true identity. It twists us into creatures with wrong motives and objectives. But most of all, sin prevents us from being and doing what we were created to be and do. And that is… to love, in the very manner that God loves.
A few days ago we talked about all the names that are used to identify us (given to us by ourselves, or others). All of those names are the result of sin and its effects upon us. We tend to adopt those names as our identity – an identity that is deceptive and destructive. An identity that misleads us. An identity that keeps us in the chains of our failures, addictions, immoral behaviors, and emptiness.
But Jesus came to break those chains. On the cross, He shattered their power over us. And when He was raised to new life, He offered a new life to each of us.
That new life is our true identity restored. We are lovers of God. We are lovers of humanity. We are able to love ourselves. Because we are the beloved of God.
Everything in Christianity is about restoration… back to what God originally created us all to be. Whole. Free. Purposeful. Empowered to receive love openly – and give love, unconditionally. A true and accurate physical “image” of the God Who created us.
Jesus came to tell us that at the heart of “The Law and Prophets” is love – human beings restored back to what we were all created to be and do.
Jesus came to make our identity true once again.
Prayer focus: God, I turn my heart to You… to receive the fullness of Your love for me. May that love fill me to overflowing… as I was created to do.