image by Andrii Dragan via 123rf
What an awful sinking feeling to find out you put in long hours studying—for the wrong test. It’s even worse when it’s the Life Test. I view life as one long test with pop-quizzes sprinkled in daily. Here’s the good news about the Life Test; there are only two questions on the entire exam. The bad news, those two questions are humdingers—they cover every eensy-weensy aspect of our being.
Life Test Questions:
- Do you love God?
- Do you love your neighbor?
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).
The Bible is the Study Guide.
Let’s take a closer look at the first question: Do you love God?
We can say we love God all day long; however, that doesn’t make it so. Jesus said if we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments. Check the Study Guide (John 14:15).
To love God means He is first in our lives. We put no other gods before Him. We schedule our day around Him—not Him around our schedules. We want to be with the ones we love, and God should be no exception. To love God means we’ll surrender our will to do whatever it takes to please Him.
Loving the LORD isn’t an essay question—we can’t bluff our way through with elusive, slippery words.
Now let’s take a closer look at the second question: Do you love your neighbor?
This second question is linked to the first one. But to start, we must determine who our neighbor is? In Luke 10:29, when a certain man tried to justify his lack of love for particular individuals, asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered him by telling the parable known as the Good Samaritan (see vs. 30-37).
As portrayed in the parable, a neighbor is anyone in need. The Samaritan didn’t know the man on the road, but that man needed help. Therefore, that man was the Samaritan’s neighbor.
To love means be nice.
God didn’t say to love only those who love us back. God expects us to love our enemies. Check the Study Guide (Matthew 5:44). The Life test wasn’t designed to be easy but to mature us spiritually.
God wouldn’t command His people to do something that He didn’t equip them to do. If they say they can’t love someone, are they saying God failed to prepare them properly? They might not want to love, but they are equipped for the task. Jesus’ enemies nailed Him to a cross, and He still chose to love.
Don’t study for the wrong test.
Don’t allow a person’s evil spirit to provoke you into taking your focus off the two test questions. Instead, see that person as one of your daily pop-quizzes; react the way Jesus would, and stay on course.
Examine how you treat others under the microscope of Matthew 7:12, known as the Golden Rule. And, while you’re at it, reread Mark 12:30 to see if your love for God is more than just words.
Study for the proper test!
See you next time on Paulette Talks Faith.