They challenged me.
They held me accountable for what I had been saying my entire life.
About 30 years ago while reading my Bible, I heard Jesus say these words to me,
“If you love me, keep my commands”.(John14:15)
If I loved him? I was shocked. I had been saying I loved Jesus since I was old enough to talk. I was brought up in a Christian family who lived out their faith in a small Christian town. For much of my childhood, I thought everyone was a Christian because everyone in my life went to church.
I remember seriously being in love with Jesus when I was younger. I read my Bible and talked to him all of the time. Somewhere along the way, I slipped into being more of a ‘cultural Christian’ than actually having a relationship with God. I went to church, I served at church, I gave money to the church, I participated in small group Bible studies and I talked about loving Jesus but God really didn’t have a big place in my daily life. My Bible was gathering dust, but I still said I loved Jesus.
Then the Holy Spirit convicted me with these words, “If you love me, keep my commands.” He made it clear to me that he wasn’t talking about the 10 commandments in the Old Testament. Jesus had fulfilled all of the old law and given me two new commandments. Only two.
The first – I need to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul. The second – love others as myself.
These are it. Everything else falls under these two commandments.
The Holy Spirit told me if I really loved Jesus, I would strive to keep these two commandments. If I didn’t start sincerely trying to obey these two, I needed to stop saying I loved Jesus.
I was blown away! I had never taken the commandment to love God first seriously. I was a wife and a working mother of two small kids at the time. I had so many responsibilities and things to do I just couldn’t imagine adding all the stuff it would take to love God first!
But there was no way I was going to stop saying I loved Jesus. No way. I knew it was a part of who I was at the center of my soul. So I was going to have to try loving God first and figure it out as I went.
It didn’t take me long to realize when I put God first, he helped me with everything else. He helped me be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter and sister, a better employee, a better boss, a better friend – he made my entire life better. Putting him first in my life made my existence so much more meaningful and ‘worth it’. He filled the empty spots in my heart and made me whole.
When I put God first in my life, he taught me how to love others. As my life filled with his love, it overflowed to those around me. I didn’t have to try to obey the second command – it naturally happened as the love of my Father transformed me from the inside out.
One verse piercing my soul through the Holy Spirit changed the trajectory of my entire life. It put me on the path I am on today – loving God with my whole heart, soul and mind and loving others.
Thank you for opening my eyes to your Truth, Abba Father.