Deuteronomy 6 - 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Although this statement is not one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) which God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai, according to Jesus, it is the greatest commandment.
(Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28)
If this is the greatest commandment, then failure to love God with one’s entire heart, soul, and might must be the greatest sin of which one could be guilty.
The second commandment, according to our Lord is “You shall love thy neighbor as yourself”.
1 John 4 – 20 says, “He that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
“On these two commandments,” said Jesus, Matthew 22 – 40 “hang all the law and the prophets”
The Bible is filled with injunctions to love God, with explanations … and the benefits derived thereby.
Deuteronomy 10 - 12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,…. 30 - 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live
Deuteronomy 30 - 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;
Nehemiah 1 – 5b “LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,
Romans 8 - 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His
1 Corinthians 2 – 9b “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Clearly the message of the Bible is that love is an act of the will toward God first and then others. But there are false prophets which have “crept in unawares” (Jude 4) in Christian circles today that teach us another type of Love; A type of love that the bible does not recognize. The “love” that I am speaking of is that of “self-love”; The idea that we must first love ourselves before it is possible to love others. This false teaching finds its root in the wisdom of man and not in the wisdom of God as revealed to us in His word, the Bible.
The preeminence of loving self began to be promoted fifty years ago by Erich Frumm a blatantly anti-Christian humanistic psychologist who believed in man’s innate goodness. He dared to say that Jesus taught we must first love ourselves before we can love others when he said, Matthew 19 – 19 “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” other humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers picked up Fromm’s concept of self-love and popularized it.
In fact far from teaching self-love Christ was rebuking it in the statement quoted above. He was saying “You feed and clothe and care for yourselves day and night. Now give to your neighbors some of that attention that you lavish upon yourselves. Love your neighbor as yourselves.” Such has been the Christian understanding of this verse throughout history. Christ would hardly tell us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves if we did not already love ourselves enough. But Fromm’s perverted interpretation, through Christian Psychology, gained an entrance into the church.
In 1900 years, no Christian author or preacher had ever discovered a single verse in the Bible that taught self-love and self-esteem. Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody and others found just the opposite; the necessity to deny self and to esteem others better than ourselves (Phillipians 2:3). Neverthe-less, humanistic philosophy’s emphasis upon loving self inspired Christian psychologists with a new interpretation of Scripture that seemed to support their new position. Bruce Narramore wrote, “Under the influence of humanistic psychologists like Carle Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians [psychologists] have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem. That is a good and necessary focus”.
Tragically…The sad (result is that)…No longer are we being convicted of our failure to love God with our whole heart, soul, and might as the gravest of sins and the root of all personal problems…. The average Christian, while he may love much else, including even the world which he is forbidden to love, gives little serious thought to loving God.
Why Does God allow false teachers?
God even tells us in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 that He allows false prophets to work signs and wonders as a test to see “whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”
Love is commanded. True love begins with the will, not the emotions. That love is commanded seems incomprehensible even to many Christians. The world has conditioned us to believe that one “falls in love” and that love is romantic attraction between the sexes. “Boy meets girl and falls in love” is the most popular theme of novels and movies. Yet “love” without God brings sorrow.
Falling in love is perceived as being helplessly swept up in a mysterious, euphoric, overpowering feeling over which one has no control and which, inevitably loses its magic. One is thus equally helpless in “falling out of love,” and thereafter “falling in love” with someone else. A commitment of the wills is missing. We are commanded to love with purity – God first of all, with our whole being, and then our neighbor as at least a partial correction of our natural tendency to excessively love ourselves. Love is a commitment to God that demonstrates itself in human relationships… This temporary release from self-centeredness explains more than anything else the ecstasy of love – a fact which those “in love” generally fail to realize.
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Bible Door Tracts
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Copyright 2008 © Bible Door Tracts.
This tracts author is Ray Luff of Bible Door Tracts. The opinions contained in this tract do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Christian Brethren of Ontario among which Ray is in fellowship. All Bible references are from The New King James Version 1996, c1982. Nashville Thomas Nelson unless otherwise noted