Archive for January 16th, 2021

Obedience and Love


Written by Karen Bables, a contemporary American Christian author. 

When asked by a religious teacher (and legal scholar), “What is the most important commandment,” Jesus quotes this Old Testament verse (Mark 12: 29-30) which makes it an important commandment for Christians as well. In the Shema and in the Gospels, the concepts of the lordship of God and the necessity to love God with everything we have are locked together. In order to live in harmony with God we must obey and simultaneously love God.  For 21st century Christians, I believe, this is a difficult combination – obedience is required; love is offered. We can understand this better if we recognize that love is an action. To the Hebrews, love made obedience possible.  As Timothy Mackie says, “You love someone when you act in loyalty and faithfulness. And so for Israel, to love meant faithful obedience to the terms of their covenant relationship. Obedience to these laws was never about legalism or trying to earn God’s favor. Obedience in the Old Testament is about love and listening. If an Israelite loves God, it will make it easier to listen and absorb his teachings and guidance. This is why the words “listen” and “love” are so tightly connected and repeated through these opening speeches of Deuteronomy” (The Bible Project.com). Living in harmony with God is a multi-faceted experience. But first and foremost we must recognize the Lordship of God. Our response is to “hear” him and love him with” all [our] passion and prayer and intelligence and energy” (Mark 12:30; MSG). This is a commitment far deeper than quoting scripture and attending church services – as important as those things are. It means giving ourselves body and soul to the Lordship of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It required stamina and sacrifice and devotion and courage throughout history – and most certainly requires it in the present.


Written by Al Paton (1903-1988), a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

Make me, O Lord, the instrument of your love, that I may bring comfort to those who sorrow and joy to those who are regarded as persons of little account. In this country of many races make me courteous to those who are humble and understanding to those who are resentful. Teach me what I should be to the arrogant, the cruel, for I do not know. And as for me myself, make me more joyful than I am, especially if this is needed for the sake of others. Let me remember my many experiences of joy and thankfulness. And may I this coming day do some work of peace for thee. Amen.

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