Taking Your Love in Two Directions


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Bible Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

I am the Lord your God. … Do not worship any other gods besides me. Exodus 20:2-3

FOR YEARS, Mrs. Jenson had had a nasty suspicion that her daughter was up to no good. So when her daughter became pregnant at age seventeen, Mrs. Jenson did what she thought Jesus would do: She kicked her daughter and her new grandson out of the house-and out of her family. Years later, her daughter had become a mag­nificent Christian mother, and her grandson loved Jesus with his whole heart. But Mrs. Jenson still saw her daughter as a dirty unwed mom.

Maybe you’ve met Christians who have forgotten that God put love smack in the center of what it means to follow him. If you are a Christian, you are called to love. But your love must be put into action on two different levels: love for God and love for people. Jesus taught, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39). You love God with your whole self-that’s “vertical love.” And you love others as you love yourself-that’s “horizontal love.”

The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are organized into the two directions of love. The first four commandments show what vertical love for God looks like:

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not worship idols.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

Then the next six commandments paint a picture of horizontal love for others:

Honor your father and your mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony.

You shall not covet.

Loving God means you acknowledge his ultimate and supreme worth in all you think, say, and do. And to love people means you recognize their value as persons created in God’s image-and you treat them accordingly.

REFLECT: God calls you to love in two directions-to love him and love others. How are you doing at each?

PRAY: Invite God to increase both love for God and love for people in your life.


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