Love, Discipleship and Sacrifice

I know that in Christianity, and amongst the people who call themselves believers in God, it is frowned upon to love anyone or anything more than God, including somebody that God created for us to love. Because we remember Mark 28b-30 NRSV, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'"

However, we know that we all love living beings that are non-human, we have abstract love of institutions, even inanimate objects that are not God. I wanted to highlight those additional objects of our love not as an instance to pass judgment on anyone who loves in those ways, we all do, but to make note of the fact, even in the light of the previous verses that I read from Mark's gospel, that we also love living and non-living things that are not God.

It is who we are, we show love and affection in those ways and that is a fact that not only we know but God knows too. My point is that as we show deep love and affection to those people, animals, and institutions, are any of those in competition with the love that we show to God? Does God always get the lion's share of your total capacity for love in your daily life? And if you were to find out that there is an imbalance between any of the other recipients of your love and your love of God what will you do?

God is a God of grace, which is God's unconditional and unmerited love for everybody, with no exceptions. God is also the God calling for loving discipleship in service to him over the long haul of life.

In Luke 14:25-33, you will see how Jesus spoke of how we are to show our love for him and the requirements for lifelong discipleship. When you read about Jesus' requirements for discipleship for those who want to take it on, be sure you read it in more than one version of the Bible, including The Message Bible, so that you get the proper understanding of Jesus' standard of apprenticeship in loving service to him. Amen.

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