To love anyone including our own self in a (spiritually) healthy way without baggage is to first love God with all our heart, soul and mind and is the greatest of commandments – and which we will fulfill all the rest of the commands in so doing;
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 22: 36-40
There is a first command and a second, the first is love God the second love our neighbor. To jump ahead and begin ‘doing good’ for our neighbor can certainly accomplish much but will lack in spiritual power. Because let’s face it, generally when we set our mind on doing something we can usually accomplish some pretty impressive doings, to which modern Christianity has many boasts. What we have done though is we have majored on the minor and left the major thinking that as we accomplish the minor we are in fact accomplishing the major….make sense? The church has set out to love thy neighbor – AS loving God, and this is not correct according to what we were told by Jesus. We must love God first – and out of this we are fit to love our neighbor as He calls us to. In this order, we will not make loving thy neighbor into what it should never be – an organization, a ministry or a mission. Instead, loving our neighbor is what we do, because of WHO we are, that stems from the love we have for God.
In truth, our mission has always been one thing, go out to make disciples in all the earth; Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18. When we do this, the power of God will be shown among us. But in the name of compassion we set out and make social helps in all the world instead, and hope that this way many will come to the Lord.
In reality, the church is the body of Christ, who are to speak on Christ’s behalf to the world of their need for Him….not food, not clothing or anything else. Am I saying quit the soup kitchen? No! When I say this I am not saying we not help when we can help in the world’s time of need and to assist in its basic and practical necessities. We are to help whenever and always, this goes without saying, but just don’t make it into our ‘ministry.’
What I am saying is that we are to love God and God’s love is this: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17.
We are to be about our Father’s business as Jesus Himself was while He walk this earth, and that is proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand…repent and be saved! In order for us to be able to accomplish such a great work, is first to be a lover of God, with our entire being so we may be filled with Him. To love God in this way, is to empty ourselves of all else that would get in the way of this. It is not just simply saying, ‘oh yes, I love God!’ Rather it is a work because it involves commitment and discipline, in faith of who Jesus Christ is and came to do – for us. I believe this to be the weakness among us which is the lack to cultivate our love for God, the lack to even look at what this means and involves because it is much easier to just do stuff that is noble and right. It is easier to do, than it is to become. As it has been written, to obey, is better than sacrifice 1 Sam 15:22. When we do – it is liken to the sacrifice, when we obey it is liken to how we become – into His likeness, so we may reflect and proclaim Him to the lost and dying world. Our becoming into His likeness involves difficulty and is not mere words said; Matt 7:13-14, and we are building in His work, by doing as He instructs us: Matt 7:25-27.
We may not be the great evangelist, or the aspiring teacher, but as we love God, through this we are able to love our neighbor and seek their utmost of good which is that they not perish but have everlasting life. We will do this by the power of God who will work in us His will as we yield to Him ours and will become His ministers in His perfect love Ephes 3:20 , Phil 2:13.