“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.”
It is a matter of great importance that we understand the order of the two greatest commandments. God demands that we love Him first so that He can show and empower us to execute the second. Reversing the order is none other than idolatry.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
This illustration extends beyond your immediate family. This could also mean a theologian in which you have deep admiration for and have adopted their name above Christ, a “Christian” celebrity you look up to who compromises God’s Word to adapt to the morality of the times, someone you are engaged to or your best friend who rejects Jesus Christ, the one who bought you at a price. He says if we put people above Him, we ARE NOT worthy to be called His disciples. Even if we claim to be in Him and deny His very words through our actions and unbiblical stances, we will only have the expectation of being told, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Some defend erroneous beliefs disguised as love and affirm a lifestyle of rebellion and say it is between the person and God. But Jesus told his followers exactly how to detect those who truly belong to Him and those who claim to be His followers but are not, who reconcile lawlessness to Christianity. How can one show love to their neighbor via this platform? By informing and warning them of what they may be unaware of. When one promotes someone who is clearly departing from sound doctrine, that makes one actually complicit in promoting lawlessness.
It is nothing new to me to have been labeled names ranging from being a bigot, hater, judgmental, demon-possessed, doctrine police, fault-finder, slanderer all because I have decided to abide in His Words. Do I feel the sting? Of course I do. However, I take great comfort from my savior’s words in Matthew 5:11,
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
If He says I am blessed when people say all kinds of evil against me because I have resolved to cling to His Words, how can I not believe with confidence in The One who truly knows my heart?
[Image Credit: leewoof dot org. tweaked]