A. The Great Commandment Reinforces Our Need for Others
Come with me now to another scene in the life of Jesus—the day when Jesus gave the Great Commandment. The Pharisees and Sadducees are gathered around Jesus and His disciples. A lawyer has just posed the question, “Which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”(Matthew 22:36 NLT)
How to Live Out the Great Commandment
Great Commandment love is relevant in human lives because it seeks to meet both spiritual needs and relational needs, thus removing the aloneness that God calls “not good.” But what do we need in our relationships with one another? How do we identify valid relational needs? In short, we do these by identifying passages of Scripture that tell us how God has demonstrated His love toward us and how we are to love others in return. Throughout His Word, we find God demonstrating His love for human creation, and as we look deeper, we will also recognize relational needs that He desires to meet, at least in part, through us.
Identifying Biblical Relational Needs:
· In 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4, God is described as “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.”This passage establishes that human beings have a need for comfort in times of trouble because God would not comfort us unless we needed it. But He does not stop there. We are to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (v. 4). Notice the pattern. The passage establishes our need for comfort in troubled times, declares that God is the ultimate source of the comfort we need, and calls us to lovingly share his comfort with those who need it.
· Another example is found in Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.” This passage establishes our need for acceptance, declares that God is the ultimate source of the acceptance we need, and He calls us to meet the need for acceptance in others.
· In Romans 15:5, Paul describes “the God who gives . . . encouragement,” and in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 adds, “Therefore encourage one another.” These verses establish our need for encouragement, reveal God as the source of encouragement, and command us to lovingly share encouragement with others.
A Valid Relational Need
These passages show us that a biblical relational need is one that God has met in our lives and admonishes us to meet in the lives of others through the expression of Great Commandment love. Scripture urges believers to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). One aspect of His multi-faceted grace is His comfort, another is His acceptance, and another is His encouragement. He has “graced” us by meeting these needs and calls us to express His grace to others. As we live in loving intimacy with the One True God, freely receiving His abundant, manifold grace, we are to freely give to others (Matthew 10:8). This is what it takes to remove the aloneness that God calls “not good.” It requires meeting valid relational needs from the resources God freely supplies.
This view of needs is affirmed by the words of the apostle Paul, who assured the Philippian church of God’s provision—“God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). He gave testimony of the ways in which God had used them to supply his needs—“It was good of you to share in my troubles . . . you sent me aid again and again when I was in need” (vv. 14, 16). God is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. He has promised to meet all our needs, and He has chosen at times to do so directly with Him, and at other times to do so through our families, friends, and church community. Amazingly, Ephesians 1:18 reveals that the Holy Spirit brings with Him these glorious riches, “...which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight...”(Ephesians 1:8).
Walking in the Light of God’s Son through Frequent Encounters with Jesus (John 12:35, John 8:12)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
Pause and consider this “manifold” or “multi-faceted” grace of God. God’s grace—His unmerited favor has been expressed to you in these different ways or facets.
You have received God’s grace as He’s shown you acceptance during those times when you’ve failed (Romans 15:7).
You have received God’s grace when He’s encouraged you when you were sad or disappointed (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
You have received God’s grace when He has supported you during times of struggle (Galatians 6:2).
Now pause and ask God: “How could I better express the glory of Your grace to others?" Ask Him specifically about how to show more of His acceptance, encouragement, and support to others. Listen and be still. Allow God’s Spirit to reveal the people in your life who need to receive more of His glorious grace expressed through you.