Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Circle of Love

So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21: 43-45

The Israelites followed the rules and God followed through.


As a Christian, of course, this immediately makes me think of the two foundational rules that Jesus gave us.

Love God with all that you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.

And then I think of all of the good promises that God made in Deuteronomy 28: 1-14.

And magically it all forms together like Voltron. The key to a fulfilling life of abundance and joy is putting God first and loving your neighbor as yourself.

The putting God first part is obviously tricky for most, especially for those of us who are like “ummm God… I don’t believe in a God.” I can dig that, so here’s how I see this.

Let’s start with love your neighbor as yourself. That sounds all find and dandy right? We should treat others how we want to be treated. It seems very simple. But ya know… I have found it to be very hard. I can’t name how many times someone has made me want to treat them worse than I treat myself. Maybe they cut me off in traffic or took my parking space. Maybe they cheated me out of some money or disrespected someone I love.

And in an even more subtle sense I may violate this principle purely out of perspective. It is easy to get lost in the details of our daily lives to the point where we may please ourselves at the expense of others. We may not intend to hurt others when we do this but it can happen.

This is where God comes in for me. When I focus on loving God then I am really forced to step outside of myself. And since I am no longer the center my life, I am better able to look at my actions and motivations in the context of how they affect others. So loving God isn’t just about praising the man/woman upstairs. It also becomes a way for me to better interact with the world. It enables me to be better at loving others.

That love is powerful.

When others start to feel that love from us it helps them do the same in their lives. And as this love spreads fantastic things start to happen. Folks start opening doors that were shut, providing opportunities that they normally wouldn’t, reaching out to lend helping hands.

When we take that leap of faith and decide to open up and spread that love, it comes back. Some of those open doors, opportunities, and helping hands are extended to us as well. And if we can remember how it all started, that it all started by loving God and others as ourselves, we will keep repeating the cycle.

Love God, love others, that love spreads, love comes back to us, we receive the love, we thank God for this new love, and love others some more.

Rinse and repeat.

This is true magic at work.

Today’s Reading: Joshua 19-21: Luke 2:25-52

1 comment:

  1. I love this post :) I love reading your interpretations of the Word and how it may not always be a linear connection but you find underlying messages that make me want to go back and check it out!
    The word of God is so amazing in that way!
    Truly beautiful! had to go back to my notes from church to find this one but I love this scripture:

    1 John 4:7-8
    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.


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