When we start talking about Christianity and what it means to be a follower of Christ there are many opinions and expectations that can be tossed around. But to me it can be summed up in 4 words: Love God, Love People. After all, according to Jesus in Matthew 22:36-39, these are the first and second greatest commandments.
“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
But how do we show that we love God and that we love people? Simply put, love requires action. Our lives are to be based on how Jesus lived His life, and Jesus acted out His love for God and for people.
Jesus could have chosen not to follow the Father’s plan, but He chose to see it through (Luke 22:42). He showed love for God through obedience to His will. And in the same moment he demonstrated His love for people as well. By choosing to take on the sin of the world and endure the cross, Jesus showed not only His love for God, but His love for us as well. And only love could explain that kind of obedience to God.
Our love for God should lead us to the same kind of obedience. Not necessarily to give up our physical life for someone, but to serve people. That is our service to God, how we show our love for Him. Both as individuals and corporately how we serve our fellow-man is equated to how we serve God. Matthew 25:31-40 tells us as much. The hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the prisoner, Jesus says what we do for them, we do for Him as well. In other words, you can’t love Jesus without loving people.
I didn’t mention one group of people from that passage, the stranger. We are to take God’s love and serve even those who are outside our church group. See church isn’t limited to four walls and a roof. It isn’t limited to 2 hours on Sunday. The Church isn’t where you meet, in fact when you leave the building it stops being the church. We are the church, and Jesus’ church goes wherever we do.
Love God, love people. When we truly become followers of Christ we will discover something that is amazing. Life is not about us, it’s about others.
If your a Pastor or other Church leader keep your eyes peeled for a follow up to this post about our responsibility in service.