Do You Like a Good Challenge?

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Cor. 13:13

I’ve always been competitive. I like challenges. Maybe that’s why I still bow hunt, play basketball with my grandson, and occasionally compete in a fishing tournament. But the greatest challenge to me doesn’t have anything to do with sports, hunting, or fishing. It has to do with loving people who create stress for me or my family. Sometimes they’re direct challenges, but many times these attacks come from people who just don’t agree with my spiritual orientation.

Exodus 20 records for us the Ten Commandments and is the clearest explanation in the Bible of God’s moral law. From it, we can understand right from wrong; however, the intent God must have had was deeper than what was given to Moses. Jesus summed up the depth of God’s laws with this statement: “…’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt. 22:37-39

You see, the Pharisees labored to distinguish important laws from the less important ones. Jesus blew their artificial system away when he pointed to the simple way one could fulfill the entire Law—by loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus made the point that God made us for relationships. He created us in His image so that we could have a relationship with Him (vertical) and model life, truth, love, joy, and peace to all those we know (horizontal).

Unfortunately, human sin fractured that relationship, but, through Jesus Christ, God made a way for that relationship to be restored. Love for God is our highest calling and the path to true fulfillment as a human being. Love for God and His ways always leads to love for one’s neighbors. Although the world says, “Look out for yourself,” true happiness is found when we put the needs of our family, friends, neighbors, and even total strangers before our own.

As difficult as it may be, we need to learn to love the unlovely. We don’t have to love their sin, their behavior, their appearance, or their attitudes, but we need to learn to love the individual. When we learn to really love God, loving others—even the difficult ones—doesn’t seem so challenging. And eventually, our lives feel happier and less negative!

The Power of Truth:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7, 8

Suggestion for Prayer:
Write a love letter to God and read/pray it back to Him.