A Devotion Based on Matthew 22:34-40

When I was living in a student apartment, some new students moved in right next to my thin wall apartment. I didn’t know anything about them except for one thing: they were really loud. With final exams coming around the corner, you can imagine how frustrated I was. Especially when I was trying to sleep at 2 am in the morning and these guys were still making ungodly noises.

On situations like these, I was tempted to toss aside every Bible verses I’ve read on self-control and patience and start banging on their door. But this is exactly the opposite of what Christ wants us to do. Jesus’ message to his disciples is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. People quote this command a lot but not too many people ever bothered to apply it in their lives. Why? Because it’s so hard.

How do I love myself? It is very natural for human to always think about themselves. I always think about what to eat, what to do at work and where to go. I also make lists of my wants and need. In short, my days are self centered.

So when Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we know that. Now we have to start thinking about others the way we think about ourselves. We have to focus on their needs as much as our own.

It is definitely not easy, especially to those who annoy us or even persecute us! Forget about loving these neighbors, I can’t even say I love the people closest to me the way I want to be loved.

Then I sort of find the answer in the Bible where Jesus taught us to, “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind.” I need to focus all my love toward God because he is be able to turn my selfish heart into a loving heart. That is what happens when we focus our attention and affection 100% in his direction.

I don’t need others to be kind or loving to me in order for me to love them. I have Christ’s love and that is enough. He lives in me and so I can love everyone selflessly – even those who make loud noises in the middle of the night.

This act of selfless love isn’t something I’m good at. It is very hard to love people as much as I love myself but at least now I know that the first step to love others is to love God above everything else. That’s why it’s the first part of the Great Commandment. If we do the first part, he will enable us to do the second part.