Thought of the Day November 7, 2017

By 9:15 AM

The call of discipleship is rooted in love; the response requires nothing less than total love:

Lk 14:26. Jesus was in total love with the Father. The Father loved him completely. "You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Jesus responded to this love with love. Nothing could come between the Father and Jesus, because of their mutual love. The same needs to be true with us. God loves us beyond measure. Paul expressed this awareness in these words: "If God is for us, who can be against us? Is it possible that he who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all things besides"(Ro 8:31-32)? Then he expresses our response: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword?....For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ro 8:35, 38-39).

Jesus uses a strong word, "hate" to emphasize the seriousness of the decision not to let anything or anyone come in between God and ourselves. When the alternative is between God and another, there is no question which the disciple will choose. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength." It is not a matter of not loving the other person, but not loving them more than our love for God. Otherwise we make them a god.

We are called and commanded to love others. But our love for others must always be a reflection of our love for God and in response of our love for God. This love for others never takes the place of our love for God. Love of God and love of others are not in opposition nor of equal priority. Only in loving God fully can I love others. Putting God first does not deprive others, but putting others before and above God does deprive God of that which is his due.

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