Before Christ, the only way for anyone to be accepted by God was by keeping all the commandments of God. As the Bible tells us, nobody was able to fulfill that (Romans 3:23, Galatians 3:11). So, God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law and paid the penalty that God’s righteousness demanded. (John 3:16)
“Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.” (Psalm 85:10)
Then after Christ, grace and truth came into the picture (John 1:17) so faith that works through love replaces all “good deeds.” (Galatians 5:6)
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4 NASB)
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10 NASB)
So, now, for us, to even know how love others, we need to learn what love is from God because “God is love” (1 John 4:8b). When we know how to love God, we learn how to love Him back and others.
Until we learn how to love through loving God, we cannot love others. When we don’t love others, we will be “selfish” people who have no love for others.
Notice something here: Do you know that selfish people don’t love others nor themselves? Yes, selfish people are selfish because they have very hard time to love and accept themselves. So, in an effort to make themselves lovable to themselves and others, they do everything they can to make everything that they consider best to be theirs. In the process, they show that they hate everyone, including God (this, by the way, is the default nature of all of us that we inherited from the fall of Adan. Until we come to God through Jesus Christ, we will stay in our natural default state, which is selfishness.)
So, Jesus puts it this way:
““The most important one [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”” (Mark 12:29-31)
Did you see that?
He said, first, love God, which the love of God itself teaches you how to love yourself (remember, we can’t fabricate this love, it is a result of loving God), and second, love others with the same love you love yourself. If we don’t love in this order, what we think is love actually will be selfishness which is a kind of feeling that is categorized as “self-hatred.”
Those who hate themselves cannot love God nor others.
The best example is one of the safety instructions we receive when you fly in the airplane:
“In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy, please place the mask FIRST and THEN assist your child or other passengers”
Why do you need to put the mask on you first? Why not on your child first? You can only help others if you are alive. Dead people cannot help themselves nor anybody else.
In the same way, the Bible says this:
“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” (Luke 3:11)
Share! It doesn’t say give everything you have and die of cold and hunger. First have a shirt to yourself, save yourself from cold, then give the extra you have to others.
The word of God puts this concept this way: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9)
Wow! In knowledge and depth of insight! It doesn’t say, your love may increase or multiply or abound as your heartbeat increases to the point of you losing your logical mind. Take note!
Therefore, “self-less love” or I call it, “mindless love” or “love-minus-insight love” is not a biblical concept but a concept that may come from philanthropists who are working very hard to get an eternal life by their own good deeds.
That means, anybody who doesn’t love God cannot love themselves and those who cannot love themselves cannot love others. Isn’t this a simple and straightforward concept? I think so.
Here is the good news: God already offering us His love to all of us through Christ. He loved us and gave us His Son, Jesus Christ. So, “He [Jesus] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12)
When we become God’s children (through receiving Jesus Christ), the first thing God teaches us is what love is and He will continue teaching us about love until we take our last breath.
We remain to be His students, students of love, He our Teacher.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, – – – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14, 17-19) ///