“Be what you love”
I drink coffee every morning. I don’t like the taste so I sweeten it. It used to be sugar but since i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I have been using artificial sweeteners. I settled on truvia because it seems to have the least poison in it. I use the pouches. The brand name stuff has little sayings on the pouch to uplift and encourage me. Today’s pouch said “be what you love”. That made me think of Jesus’ summation of the law. It’s found in more than one gospel. I will quote the version from Matthew 22.
““Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 -NLT
In John 14 Jesus said something similar but he made it tighter and more difficult.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34-35 – NLT
“A new commandment I give to you that you are to love one another as I have loved you. “
How did Jesus love us? He loved us to death, Not our death, his death.
We can’t actually love others completely and perfectly like Jesus did because we are damaged with sin. But Jesus commanded us to even though he knew we would try and fail.
Christianity has what we call the golden rule. If I follow this rule I will by default, be following every other rule.
“12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 7:12 – NIV
Jesus expanded into it in Luke 6.
“27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Luke 6:27-36 – NIV
Yes that’s all we have to do. Just treat others as we would have them treat us. That’s all. Long pause.
How are we doing with that? I’m failing. I try but then some jerk cuts me off in traffic, or mistreats me or maligns me in a meeting. My heart and head No longer want to treat them as I would want to be treated. I want them punished!
At the end of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew Jesus explained the consequences of unforgiveness.
“14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15 – NIV
I want sins against me punished but I want my own sins against others and against God to be forgiven. How fickle my heart is.
“Be what you love”. That’s how this post started and it has rambled around. I’ll try to tie it together.
When I take a standard and try to press it onto my life from outside it doesn’t work very well. It is like using cookie cutters on bread dough. I squish out. I don’t maintain the shape for long. The bubbling up from the inside fights against the shape imposed on me from the outside. But if the change comes from inside? When I become a follower of Jesus the Holy Spirit comes and moves into my heart and mind and begins to remodel me from the inside out. He is making me into the shape of my savior Jesus not from the outside in, but from the inside out.
“Be what you love”? I love Jesus. The longer I follow him, read his words and serve him, hanging around with others who also follow him, I am becoming more of not what, but who I love.
Following Jesus isn’t about perfectly following rules. He isn’t expecting us to be perfect on our own. He isn’t squishing a cookie cutter of himself onto our bloated puffed up hearts and lives. He knows us, knows our fickle fallen hearts that want to follow him but stumble and fail. That’s why he died for us. His death paid for all of our mistakes and now all we have to do when we fail is confess and repent and allow his Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out.
I suggest a new saying for Truvia, be who you love.