“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” ~Matthew 22:37-39 (NRSV).
Upon these two commandments rest all the law and the prophets—the entire substance of the Word of God at that time: the Old Testament.
There is something significant about the acronym, G.O.D. It reveals God in three uniquely relational ways.
The Greatest Commandment, upon which we are all to commit and commend our lives to, is entirely relational; our relationship with God, with others, and our relationship, finally, with ourselves, based in development. The premise of this Commandment is love: for God, others, and ourselves. Love is intensely relational.
The fact that we live and die—that our lives are finite—is about God.
Because we battle through life points us, each time, to God. Life is perplexing, and meaningless when analysed, without a healthy self-image in God. And even with God, we will often wonder what the meaning of life is about because, plainly, we cannot understand it completely.
God is Spirit, and that Spirit, and this life the Spirit has created, is a mystery. But this Mystery is present with us in love. Our Lord yearns for our fellowship; we need it.
We also need fellowship with others.
Life, at its shimmering best, is essentially about other people. Whenever we understand and apply this, our lives go swimmingly and we are thought of as humble people. That, of itself, is a blessing.
There cannot be a worse outcome for any human being than being self-absorbed, selfish, or wound up in self-pity. Yet, this is our immature default unless we invest in the third aspect of G.O.D.: development.
The most important individual purpose we all have, barring worship of the Lord, is that of developing ourselves, for life is the learning ground.
Developing ourselves underpins and supports our relationships with God and others.
This begins with the process of accepting truth. Development at a personal level is one hundred percent about truth. We cannot grow whilst we believe in, or propagate, lies about ourselves. The truth will set us free (John 8:32).
Another important fact is all things that have happened, and will happen, to us reveal God in a fallen, imperfect world. God has allowed these things for our development. This is the plain truth and we cannot go on until we accept it. We grow best in situations of adversity.
Life is about God. Whether we believe in God or not, this four-word statement is true.
The only way to encapsulate all of life is to look at the relational context. The three relationships discussed above combine to describe our whole existence, from the cradle to the grave. These three relational realms are about God.
Jesus’ Greatest Commandment—to love God and others as ourselves—focuses on the three relationship planes that our whole lives hinge on. Life is about God. People can deny it is much as they like; but, there’s no getting around it.
God seeks a relationship with us, compels us to relate with others, and insists we relate with ourselves in development. Life is about love for God, others, and self. Life is about God.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.