So, what is it? I tend to be direct, for the most part, so I’ll continue to be so. The secret to life is… Love. It may not be the earth-shattering revelation that makes every nightly news broadcast. And it may not be the key to unlocking mankind’s darkest mysteries. But, Love is God’s ultimate plan for humanity. His plan, from the beginning, was for His children to live in peace, love, and harmony with one another. This is evident in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12, verses 28-34:
Mark 12:28-34 (NASB)
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; 33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
I love the end of the selection: “After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.” This is because Jesus had spoken the truest words to ever have been uttered by human lips. There is no greater accomplishment than to fully love God and fully love one another. Upon this, God judges our hearts. If we love Him and one another, we are promised everlasting life by Jesus, the sinless Son of God. It is undeniable that Jesus had a distinct, unique divine connection to God. We can singularly classify this spiritual and mental connection and all subsequent behavioral manifestations of said character by simply calling Jesus the Son of God. He is not God, Himself, incarnated into a physical body. The scriptures do not proclaim that, nor do the Old Testament prophecies foretell the incarnation of the immortal God. This is true because of what Jesus says at the first part of our selection, above:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord.
Jesus says God is “our” God. Our is an inclusive pronoun, meaning Jesus says that God is his God, too. How can God be God’s own God? Does God rule over God? Absolutely not. God is sovereign, meaning He is the only God, and everything we can see or know belongs to Him and is under His total control. If God were one part of a trinity, then Jesus wold tell us that God is Three. He would not reaffirm the Shema (see footnote) as the primary way Jews understood and still understand God to be. He is not like the other gods: dead, imaginary, or otherwise.
Then, Jesus tells us what the foremost commandment is: to love God. And why not? God the perfection of love, peace, harmony, justice, mercy, and grace. He is everything we should aspire to be. He is kind, slow-to-anger, and always righteous. He loves His children, all of us, regardless of our sins. He understands we are all sinners, and we need His mercy in order to be able to connect with Him, Part of loving God is having a personal relationship with Him. He wants nothing more than for us to love Him and to love one another. Nothing but good can come from this.
Which brings us to the secondmost commandment: to love one another. This does not mean to love only those that love us; that would be way too easy. Instead, Jesus tells us to love even those who persecute us. God loves those who speak all kinds of ill against Him, and if God can love them, we can love them, as well.
God has blessed us with the ability to love. Conversely, we’re given responsibility to overcome hate and indifference It is easy to get wrapped up in the sins of others and not recognize the impact of our own sin. Then, it becomes a way of thinking, that we are more righteous than our brother or sister because we see only their sin, which is like a speck of dust in their eye, which we are more than happy to point our to them while we, ourselves, have a log in our own eye. If we truly humble ourselves to God and to one another, a whole new way of thinking , living, and being comes upon us, and God begins to change our hearts to be more like His. As love becomes our primary motivation for our behavior, a deeply personal relationship with God is not only possible, it is inevitable.