There is no “I” in “you”…or is there?
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)
What a stressful and challenging year this has been! The news is dominated by stories of a world out of control. Putting aside all the spin, all the strife, all the name calling, all the tension, all the fear, all the anger, all the division, disaster after disaster; everything that stands to tear our world, our country if not our families, our friendships and our church communities apart; at no time has the Sovereign Lord God Almighty not been in control.
With all that stands to bring you down, you have a daily calling in the midst of all of this. Jesus Himself gives the answer and if you are careful to listen, you will find that you are on a mission to love. Yes, love God, love everyone (even the unlovable) and especially love yourself! This is known as “The Greatest Commandment” given us by Jesus Himself.
Jesus’ use of the word “you” in His command seems clear enough. He’s talking about not just all of us (the collective “you”) but pointing especially to YOU, yourself! So where is the “I” in “Y-O-U”?
The “I” is hidden in the word “love”. The commandment is one of love. John teaches us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 ESV). If God is love and the commandment is one of love then God is the unspoken “I” in love as the giver of the command. After all, He is the Author of the commandment is He not?
Let’s take this one step further, if God is love then is He not the source of all love? Of course He is! One step further and you see that God wants you to love yourself. Really! Face it, if you don’t love yourself you can’t truly love anyone else can you? Add to this one simple fact:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'” (Genesis 1:26 ESV)
Did you catch that? God created man in His own image, “male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
One step further and you find that God calls you to love because the ones He calls you to love were made by Him and made in His image. Everyone one of us, all mankind, made in His image! So does that mean I am required to love the unlovable? Yes! Even those I stand at odds with on the most fundamental and foundational things most dear to me? Yes!!
Because God said so! Because YOU were made in God’s image! Because YOU bear His likeness! Because by faith YOU are being conformed to the living image of His Son Jesus who is Himself the embodiment of everything that is God but most of all because Christ Himself is God and Jesus loves everyone! EVERYONE! Especially those you feel unlovable and at odds with everything you hold to be true. God gives YOU His Son that YOU can love them too!
Because GOD IS THE “I” IN YOU!!
So, if you walk this path you will find that your identity is no longer found in this world. You will find that your identity is found in Christ!
How should we respond as a body of believers? How should we respond individually, as friends, as families, as a church? Pray!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
It may be that it is not a President who is leading the country but a body of believers through prayer. It may be that it is not hatred and indifference that rule the world, but we who are the many parts that are the Body of Christ leading in love through prayer.
It may not be easy, but it is simple.
Lead in love and do not be afraid to share the love of Christ!