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Matthew 22:34–40 ‘One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”’ (vv 35–36)

Some view Christianity as complex. As a new Christian I was intimidated when I first got hold of a Bible. This was one thick book! However, Jesus boiled it down to its critical essence; love God, love neighbour, and love self. This remains the greatest commandment to this day. Love is best demonstrated through the actions of Jesus in Holy Week, culminating in His death and resurrection. Love knows no limits in serving the object of its commitment. Love demands expression through action. It engages our will and our energy if it’s to become established and to grow. The nature of our love is best illustrated by those moments where we fail to love. When absent, the results are ugly and dehumanise both victim and perpetrator.

We keep on track as disciples by ensuring our love for God is maintained – and prayer plays their part in feeding such love. Lukewarm Christians God will spit out (Rev. 3:16). Failure continually to draw from our source of love guarantees the stagnation of our Christian walk of faith. But we must also love others as God loves us, for if we are accepted for who we are, on what basis can we possibly reject anybody? This challenges our unconscious bias, forces us to face our prejudices, and to seek help in turning our negative feelings into positive approaches. Finally, failure to love ourselves is to reject God’s assessment of us as ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psa. 139:13–14).

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Lev. 25:1–12; Deut. 7:7–11; Matt. 5:43–48; Luke 11:37–46.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How effective are you at loving, God, neighbour and self? This is the greatest commandment.

A PRAYER TO MAKE:  ‘Lord, may I learn to love You, my neighbour and myself and so live an authentic Christian life. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.