What is “His Encouragement?”
Thursdays are always a really long day of the week for me. Since I’m a pastor, Sunday feels like the natural beginning to my week. By the time I get to Thursday, I am tired and drained. That’s why I’m excited to join with a group of blogging friends in order to offer you a weekly devotional which will be posted every Thursday. We are calling the series, “His Encouragement.”
It is my prayer that these words of encouragement inspired by scripture will help to carry you through the rest of your week My prayer is that this weekly series will be a much needed of reminder that God loves you.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)
Jesus’s Addition to an Important Prayer
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, he responds, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).” This is a clear reference to this passage in Deuteronomy. This passage in Deuteronomy is also part of the Shema. The Shema is an important prayer in the Jewish tradition that includes the command to “love God with all your heart, soul, and might.” It is an important part of both evening and morning prayer.
As a rabbi, Jesus would have prayed the shema and he would have had it memorized. The disciples would have also been familiar with this prayer. It is certain that the Pharisees, who were scholars and teachers of the law, would have been intimately familiar with this important prayer.
However, Jesus makes an important addition to this important prayer: he adds a second commandment. He commands us to, “love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).
On Valentine’s Day, we talk a lot about love. We exchange cards, flowers, and tokens of our affection. Romantic love is a blessing and a gift from God. But I would also like to encourage everyone to take time on this Valentine’s Day in order to remember how much God loves us. Because God loved us so deeply, God gave us the gift of Jesus Christ (John 3:16). God gave because God loved us.
The Meaning of True Love
Therefore, I can think of no better way to honor God’s love this day- or any day of the year- than by showing love to our neighbors. True love is about more than candy hearts and flowers. Any couple who has been married for any length of time will tell you that true love is about commitment. Any parent who has loved a child can tell that true love is about sacrifice.
I encourage you to make this Valentine’s Day a time to remember God’s love in your own life. One of the best ways we can honor God’s love is by showing love to our neighbors.
Jesus said that, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Of all the commandments, the most important of these is love.
May Your Valentine’s Day be full of God’s love!
Until Next Time-
Please be sure to check out the other great bloggers involved in the His Encouragement weekly series!