March 22

Matthew 22:37-39 37Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

A study of the Old Testament laws will show that all the Law is an expanding of these two instructions. All the laws pertaining to worship and the rituals of worship were about putting God first in one's life. They looked forward to the promise of the miracle of salvation that God would work through the Messiah. The laws pertaining to health and justice were practical ways to express love to one's neighbor. Without the Spirit of God indwelling men, the people of Israel needed these guidelines to live as closely as possible to what the Spirit would direct them. In the details of current events, they had the prophets that declared God's specific will in given circumstances.

Now that the Spirit has been poured out, indwelling those who receive Christ, He guides us into all truth. What does it mean to love the Lord our God with our all in a given situation? The Spirit of God reveals that to us. He directs us into an expression of the love that pleases the heart of God and brings the kingdom of God into our lives and those with whom we interact. He is much more specific than the Law, and much more demanding than the 600 plus laws. Love has no loopholes.

He shows how to express love toward our neighbor. Jesus redefined the word "neighbor" to include anyone we come in contact with who has a need. The Law may have had loopholes by which we could avoid a cost to self. The Spirit closes all those loopholes and directs us to a love like Jesus' love that lays down our life for those in need. How in tune with the Spirit's direction have you allowed your life to be? It is easy to make new laws of behavior that we suppose are based on New Testament principles and avoid the self-denying direction of the voice of the Spirit. Those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God (Romans 8:14). The only way to fulfill these two great laws is to be led of the Spirit.

Consider: What has the Spirit of God been directing me to do that I have been avoiding?