can you love God without loving your neighbor?

god's love for us

Maybe you haven’t stepped into a church in weeks, months, years. Maybe you go every Sunday but aren’t quite sure why it’s worth the routine. Maybe you’re a person of faith. Maybe you aren’t. But for whatever reason (perhaps being that you accidentally clicked this link), you’re here.

Can I just say hi and I love you?

I don’t really care who you are — I just want page views. (Kidding.) Really, though, I want this little space to be a place where souls can spill out freely — but I never want to be isolating. I want you to pop in and pop out and find meaning, even if you’re not sure where you land on the whole Jesus thing.

Obvs, I find meaning and value in my relationship with Jesus. I believe all good things in my life flow from God. I find strength in his Spirit. I was just looking at my notes from today’s sermon. (iPhone + old habits as a reporter = I collect lots of quotes and notes.) And I thought maybe I’d share a few quotes, a few excerpts that stuck out to me. Sermons don’t have to be those boring three points that start with the letter P — they can be transformative messages that simply focus on life-giving love.

  • Love is who God is and it’s what He called us to.
  • What does it look like to be a Christian? The fundamental and foundational marker is love. Without it, you can’t call yourself a disciple of Jesus. Otherwise you’re just making noise. All your doctrines down? If you don’t have love, you have nothing. Give everything but don’t have love? Nothing. 
  • Love only exists in relationship. Disciples have to live in love. If there is no love, there is no disciple.
  • What does the Bible mean when it talks about love? It’s a commodified word in our society. We package it and sell it. Love is the foundation of who God is — it’s literally His essence. You can’t talk about love without talking about story of Jesus and stories about Jesus. Woman at the well? Jesus went against his culture and loved anyway. The money changers in the temple who were exploited the poor? Jesus went against his culture and flipped over the tables in love.
  • When we have love, it always grows into something else. Love never exists by itself. Relationship, service, and worship come out of the love we have received.
  • Out of God’s love, He created us. God loved us so much that he chose to come down. Love is uncomfortable. Love costs us something. Jesus came and he loved people so much that he was willing to die. For God to die because he loved us so much? And we’re told to act like this? Love means getting down in the dirt. There’s not always payback. It means getting in with people in messy relationships through this perfect love, this love that is so scandalous.
  • Church culture can oppress what it means to be a disciple. But the foundation is loving God and others. We can humble ourselves to an even lower position to LOVE.
  • Jesus left EVERYTHING. He walked away from it all. He came down and loved to the point that he was obedient to death — even death on a cross. He gave of himself.
  • When we accept that, we have the Spirit of God in us. Jesus left us with his spirt. We have help. We have he ability to do this. This isn’t about trying harder. It’s about living as who we were created to be.

If you’re looking to dig in + see what Scripture says, some verses referenced:

  • Lev. 19:18 (Old Testament summary verse – love your neighbor)
  • Deut. 6:5 (Old Testament summary verse – love God)
  • Zechariah 7:8-10 (Love = Justice. Mercy. Compassion. No oppression of widows/orphans. No evil plans.)
  • Matthew 22:37-40 (All of it was geared and created and drove you toward love of God and others. They’re tied together. Everything from the old way (the law) it was to get you to love your neighbor. That’s the point.)
  • 1 Cor. 13-18 (All about love)
  • 1 John 4:10-11 (God’s love)
  • 1 Peter 4:8 (what happens when we love)
  • Phil 2 (Christ’s humility — true love)

Sometimes, it’s hard to grasp the concept love. What has helped you feel that wide and long and high and deep love?

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2 thoughts on “can you love God without loving your neighbor?

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