5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)
12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, Deuteronomy 10:12 (KJV)
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25 (KJV)
How are these verses connected? (Don’t say “uh… double-stitched binding and bonded leather cover?”)
They’re talking about the same thing.
Let’s look at the Hebrew word for love. Love is in the verses above “A’hav’ta” – you shall love. Sorry, didn’t look it up in Strong’s, so can’t give you the number. I did it out of memory – I mean Deut. 6:4-7 is part of the daily Jewish prayers. I said it every day for years. “V’ahavta es Adonai Eloheykha v’khol navshka v’khol….” yeah, still got it. Still say it sometimes.
And I don’t even have my siddur anymore!
Anyway, the point is, it’s not a pronoun (a descriptive), it’s not a noun (person, place or thing…) but it’s a verb. An action. Biblically, love is an action. When the Lord tells us in Deuteronomy that we are to love Him, it’s an action.
For anyone who thinks this is under the Law, and Christians don’t need to follow it anymore, please remember it’s presented in the New Testament as well.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3 (KJV)
“Love” is connected with “doing”.
The Lord Himself talked about discipleship, essentially the same thing. Deny yourself.
Okay, how? Well, here’s some essential ways. Put the Lord first. Prayer shouldn’t be three seconds over a meal. Prayer should be very day. There’s over 80,000 seconds in a day, and all you can give God is 9 seconds over some food???
Give God the time you’re getting dressed for work, shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Pray during that time. Maybe turn off the car radio, and instead try praying during that time.
That’s something. You can get up to 20 minutes a DAY that way, depending on how long it takes you to get to work and dressed and etc.
20 minutes a day, out of 1,440. It’s not a big chunk of your day. It’ll help.
Give of your increase. Got a dollar or two left over in change every week? Try giving that to an organization that feeds the poor. Hey, talk your church into starting a food pantry, and donate it to that ministry. If a 200 member church gave $2 a week, simple math tells you $400 a week to buy food with. I can say that most Christian churches operate their food pantry budget on an average of half a cent per member. That’s really pathetic.
If you’ve got another dollar a week, support a missionary. I’m asking you to donate $3 a week to supporting the Great Commission, and to feed the poor. These are things that are not optional for Christians, from how I read my Bible. If you’re struggling to feed yourself, then obviously you don’t have it. But if you’ve got it, do it.
Next! Give of yourself by taking the time to read through your Bible this year. Twice through in one year is the Bible reading plan you should be doing. Once in a year is insufficient, in my opinion. Most Christians are suffering from Biblical ignorance. If we ate food the way we read the Bible, most of us would have died this year.
Then take fifteen minutes a day and do Bible study. I covered a lot of this yesterday.
This strikes me as “Denying yourself.” This is putting God first, and other people, ahead of yourself. Read your Bible? Denying yourself. Pray? Denying yourself. Giving a little of your increase? Denying yourself.
Now take up your Cross and follow the Lord.