Readings for May 17, 2020
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Peter 3:15-18
While admittedly I didn’t learn enough math in school, I did learn a few things while “helping” my children when they were learning early math skills, so I know that order of operation matters. Seven minus four equals three. Three minus seven does not. And the order of operations also matters in how I practice my faith. Jesus teaches, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…he who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Jesus is making a distinction between blind obedience to the Law and what it means to have the Law written on our hearts. First love Him. Then obey. Then love one another. That’s the order of Godly love. It seems to indicate that obedience is only practiced authentically in love. All other attempts are selfish cries for attention, self-adulation, or affirmation. I am not kidding about this because I know I am capable of all three! But with love, in love, it is not about me. It is about the object of my love—God.
God is love. That love was made manifest in Jesus. That love is seeded within us by our Creator and we turn to Him who loved us first. In doing so, we love out of obedience and, in fact, we fear falling short in that love—not for fear of punishment but because love is a driving force. And, that love carries forth in a love for all God has created for us, especially those whose lives intersect with ours. Love God. Love Jesus. Be obedient in love. Love others. That is the order which God has created for us.
My Lord God, thank you for loving me first and for giving me the gift of Your Son, my Savior, to show me the path to obedience. That path must begin and end with love of You. May I show that love in my interactions with those around me so that I remain freely and wholly Yours. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen