Two doesn’t work with little girls, but can with sisters in Christ. And we want you to join us by answering a question:
Right now two of my dearest friends are with me for our yearly re-union. In The Friendships of Women I tell of my jealousy concerning Sylvia (on my left).
Twenty-eight years ago when our family moved to Fargo for a year, I became friends first with Ann (on my right) and then she told me that Sylvia, her best friend from seminary days was moving to town. I thought Sylvia would definitely monopolize Ann and I’d be out in the cold Fargo winter. But though three doesn’t work with little girls, it does work with women who love the Lord because instead of finding strength in each other, we help each other find strength in God.
We laugh (watched New Girl in Town last night – There’s actually a positive role model of a Christian in it! We laughed because Sylvia had moved from Florida to Fargo and could identify), we cry, we pray, we linger over long suppers on the porch, we love each other. We have four whole days to reconnect and to help each other find strength in God. (This picture is from last year’s reunion.).
We began last night sharing what has been on our hearts. Sylvia asked us to reflect on this for this week. She said, “How do we really love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. What does that look like? So often we go to the second commandment, but concentrating on just the first, what does that look like?”
I know often people would say: Read your Bible, pray – but I think it’s deeper than that.
Can you help us?
For me, things in my life are shifting in an unexpected or unthought of direction and that first command right now means to me to Trust in God—Entrust to Him and Trust Him with all that I am and could ever hope or imagine or not imagine to be. To love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength looks like–trusting Him when it seems weird, off, odd, nonsensical, and everything that goes against the natrual fiber or understanding of your being especially as it pertains to relationships we’ve given up on, especially the relationships we have with ourselves and those near and dear to us. I’m trusting God with it all.
That’s good, Annie. This morning I was listening to Indelible Grace, a music group I like that puts old hymns to contemporary music — and here is a verse from William Cowper based on the close of Habbakuk that reminds me of what you just shared:
Though vine nor fig tree neither, their wanted fruit should bear
Though all the fields should wither, Nor flocks or herds be there
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice
Thanks for writing, Annie.
What a great question! But I do not think you can seperate the 1st commandment from the second. I thought of a couple of verses the 1st one was in James. James 2:14-17 “What good is it dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
The other verses I thought of were in 1John. 1John 4:7-12,15,16,20 “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”
I think a good barometer of how well I am doing the first commandment, is how well I am doing the second commandment.
Mary — you’ve gotten the three of us talking, which I love. We agreed that loving our neighbor is evidence if we love God. Good thoughts and verses.
Here’s a tangent question: Some mothers love their children better than their husbands, and some Christians seem to love God’s children better than Him. So, when you think about what it looks like to really love your husband — how does that cross over to what it looks like to really love God?
Mary? Or any of you?
I love your questions! To me, it’s making Him (God) your first thought. Thinking how I can please him. Asking him what is on his heart. I often think how good and wonderful God is – that in our seeking of Him, He is the one who gives us something to give back to Him. He is the one who fills our hearts with love. We start with nothing and when we come to him – he fills our hearts – and gives us something to give back to Him.
He is wonderful!
I used to think that I had to have designated quiet time – read – pray, and that was how I was to set my heart, mind, soul on God. I still do this but then I realized God wanted to have control of every moment of my day – not just one hour and then I go about my business.
I find that as I go through out the day I can constantly set my mind- heart and soul on Jesus – Some days are much more difficult than others!
When I lay in bed, waking up in the morning – I begin to think about God – what are Your plans for this day, Lord?
When I see a beautiful landscape,flower, clouds in the sky – I think God, You made that!
When I get frustrated or upset – I think – how would You have me handle this Lord?
My favorite time – when I lay down to sleep at night – I go over the day in my mind – giving thanks – thanks for cupboards that are full – thanks for family and friends He has placed in my life – even thanks for that cranky customer at work who I tried to patient with!
Loving him with everything (heart, mind, soul) is an all day thing!
Such good thoughts, sisters! Keep it up. I’ll chime in on your thoughts later (with Ann and Sylvia’s help too — we’re talking about your talking 🙂 )
Thank you ladies for all your thoughts. I have pondered this question for so long. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know it takes all my effort to keep my mind completely on my Heavenly Father and not be distracted by both the blessings and challenges in my life. I’ve learned to intentionally focus on my love for God through some challenges that I never thought I could survive (but did, by His grace alone) as well as through the blessings when I tend to become “lazy” about giving Him all the glory just because I get comfortable in a life without pain and suffering.
As far as the second command, I know I cannot love everyone the way God can. But I can love everyone with the love of God. This is the only way I can even come close to living up to the second command.
Susan’s comments remind me of Psalm 63:7-8.
Sorry — continuing with my above comment:
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
I love hearing from each of you, and what loving the Lord hour by hour looks like.
Hi Dee, I am slowly reading Charles Spurgeon’s book on the Song of Solomon and came to the chapter which contains “Christ’s love in the “singular”…..”Your love is better than wine.” Then Spurgeon speaks about the love of Christ in the cluster , the basket, the flagon…all the way to the cup. Then I did a search for the verse and found your work! I would love to read more about what you are saying about Jesus. This is my first time here!