If our spiritual priorities are God’s, we should listen urgently to God more than to our concerns. Often, with all of us, our concerns become our agenda without reflecting God’s purposes. Unfortunately, in all ages, God’s people assume their concerns are God’s priorities.

Jesus said twice in the same sermon: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48) “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) He said again in Matthew 22:39 that the second greatest command God has given is this: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Paul said to a congregation in Rome: “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Peter said, “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

John said, “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:7-11)

Very high on God’s priority list is loving people made in His image and likeness. Where does loving people come on your priority list?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 October 2006

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