So I've been a slacker and spent two weeks on my last memory verse, The Great Commission. It consists of more than one verse though, so maybe I'll give myself a break for taking so long to memorize it.
Matthew 22:37-40 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 foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
This has always been one of my favorite passages of Scripture. In fact it was one of the first passages that I ever memorized. But that was a few years ago, and as much as I know the general theme, I don't still have it memorized word for word. Jeremy's tattoo stands for this verse, and if I was ever to get another tattoo I would probably get the Scripture reference for this on the back of my neck, between my shoulder blades, or on the inside of my right wrist.
I love the simplicity found here. This was at a time when they were still under the law. They had lists of rules and laws to follow and obey. So many rules that to me it seems it would have been exhausting trying to learn and follow all of them. But even here, prior to His death and resurrection, Jesus says that that whole list doesn't matter... you don't have to know it all. He says that first and foremost we are to love our God, and that we are also to love others. He says that all of the laws and rules can be summed up in these two commands. That we don't have to have the list memorized of things not to do (covet, commit murder, commit adultery, etc.), we just have to weigh our actions against the scale of are they loving our Lord, and loving others. Stealing, killing, being jealous, cheating etc. are all actions that would not be loving to others, so therefore they are summed up under this simple command.
It's so easy to make lists of rules that Christians should follow, and then to impose our list onto others. But remembering, and following rules (for the sake of having rules) is not what it's about... we miss the big picture through those actions. It's not about a list of don'ts, it's about the do's... Do love God, and do love others... simple as that.
Thank you Lord for our freedom found through you. For abundant love found through you. Lord help me to remember that following you is not about a list of don'ts, not about a list of rules... but it's about a sacrificial type of love that you displayed on the cross, that you have first given to me. Us me Lord, to pour that same love out to others.