Zack Carden: Love Thy Neighbor

When Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The first four of the Ten Commandments have to do with how we are to love God, while the last six have to do with how we are to love others. That’s Jesus’ point here. And everything hinges on those two things. But here’s the thing. We can’t even think about pursuing the “loving our neighbor” part without pursuing the “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” part.

It is in our sinful nature to be selfish and self-seeking and to center our lives on ourselves and our own ambitions. That’s the currency of the world. That is how the world operates. Our faith in the God of the Old Testament and New turns all of that on its head.

The Spirit makes our heart alive so we can pursue and love God, and so we can understand the depth of what He did for us. That understanding, empowered by the Spirit, moves us to live sacrificially. It moves us to be able to deny ourselves and truly lay down our lives for others.

What does that look like? Loving others with true agape love that comes from the Spirit can look different in different situations. In the middle of a global pandemic, there are many opportunities to show that love – from loving our literal neighbors in physical or spiritual need, bearing the burden of a brother or sister in Christ, to being a listening ear during a stressful time. The most important thing is to seek God in prayer, asking, “How would You have me love my neighbor?” And asking Him to empower us to do so.


Matthew 22:36-40


Consider how you can “love your neighbor” in your unique situation.


Ask God, “how would you have me love my neighbor?”