“These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”-John 15:17
Sometimes the commandments of God feel like impossible burdens. When we think about the Ten Commandments or about Jesus’s commands for how to live, we may have several different reactions. We may feel a sense of shame or powerlessness over our inability to meet his expectations. For example, we know that God said not to burn with desire for the things other people have, yet we covet every day and then we feel ashamed because we do not measure up and we fear God’s judgment. Maybe we see God’s commandments as arbitrary tests of faith. Perhaps they seem utterly irrelevant to our lives.
But here is the truth: the purpose of God’s commands is to instruct us on how to live a life of love. God is love. Everything…everything…he does flows from love. He wants us to love like he does, but he does not expect us to figure it out on our own.
Do you want to love well? Here’s a start. Don’t kill people. In fact, don’t even speak poorly about them. Don’t lie about other people. Instead, tell the truth. Build others up. Don’t demand service from others, rather serve them, and especially those who don’t have a lot. Let all that you do be done in love.
Jesus, your commands are not meant to be a burden, but to show me how to live a loving life. Help me to see that the commandments are not indictments of your judgment against me, but instead are maps for the journey to becoming love. Amen.