"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."
I thought that I would start off my "series" with what might be my favorite Bible quote. There's something about it that has always struck me as a beautiful moment. The simplicity of it. The command sounds like something simple and reasonable. And indeed, it seems that for someone of faith it would be only reasonable to love God with all of your everything. But alas, (and yes, I just used alas) it's not so simple as all that. And, I suppose, that is why it's a commandment, because it's something that even the truly faithful need to work towards, and maybe, no matter who you are, you will never truly achieve it. Maybe some have, some can, I don't know. But we have so many roadblocks to such a deep and true love of God. Not the least of which is vanity.
Another aspect of this quote that I enjoy is the clear emphasis on love. Especially the second part, that we must also love our neighbors as ourselves. In another place, this is shown to subsume the other commandments, because if we did love our neighbors as ourselves the others would naturally fall into line.
Finally, going back to the first half of this quote, it calls to mind another part of the New Testament, John 14:21: "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." This, I believe, helps us to more deeply understand the above quote. We are told here that we show our love of God through our actions and thoughts, by being in line with his desires for us, by holding his commandments. His commandments, as seen above, can be boiled down into loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We seem to come in a circle, but I truly don't believe that it's a tautology. I don't know if I can work it out more deeply here in this post (especially as I try to finish this within my deadline of Tuesday and I need to go to bed relatively soon, lol). I might not be able to express it, but I understand the truth here, and it's not such an easy one either. I hope that you've found this interesting, and that it sparks in you some beneficial thinking on the topic.