Large Tree at Pacific Ocean Coast that has roots exposed.

But That’s Really Hard

So Hard!

You ask really hard things, you know that, God? I mean, your two royal laws — the first you laid down in the Old Testament about loving you, and then the new one you brought into play through Jesus about loving others — are just about the hardest things ever.

Love you with all my heart, strength, and mind, you say?

Oh, is that all? How?

Love my neighbor as myself.

Oh, groan.

But, but, but…how?

The First Commandment

And you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

To love you with all of my heart means that I would love you, first of all!

All of my heart would be enraptured by you, and it would want to please you with every beat. I’d want to know what you love, and then learn to love that, too.

To love you with all my soul? Oh, man. You mean, like, think about your ambitions, and your desires?

Instead of my own?

To love you with all my mind would mean that I’d think about you. I’d saturate my mind with your Word, gleaning from you the wisdom and direction that you provide, in the Scriptures.

Then, I’d apply my mind to learning from You, and I’d study to transform my mind into one that begins to resemble you.

To love you with my strength might even mean that I’d give you the best part of my day, that very first bit, when I’m energized and strong, and all ready to do my own stuff.

I’d probably even give you more of the day, too! Like maybe serving you not just in the morning, but at noon, and maybe at night, as well.

Love you in all of these ways? That’s just like, really, really hard.

Scoot Me Over

I’d have to scoot me over, quite a bit, you know. First off, I’d probably have to stop feeling sorry for myself for how “rough” I have it.

Then, I’d have to seek hard after you, instead of seeking after what I don’t have. Like seeking the kingdom, first.

I’d even have to start asking questions, like “how can I serve You best today?” and “shall I do this, or that, my beautiful King?”

The Second Commandment

And then the second command. Oh man. That one feels even harder! I mean, loving you with everything is one thing. You are perfect. You really do deserve this kind of love.

But them?

The second is is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:31

Love my neighbor as my SELF?!

But I think about myself all of the time!! You made it this way, I’m pretty sure. How else would I even stay alive? You know that from the first thing upon waking in the morning, to the moment when I get to close these eyes on my soft little pillow, I’m pretty much caring for myself. I mean, if I don’t, who will?


To love someone else, as much as I love me, would mean that I’d have to think about them all the time, too!

I’d have to really notice them—and not just me. I’d actually be interested in how they respond to life, and really listen, when they talk.

Mercy! I might even notice what they don’t say, and I’d want to care about them enough to dig deeper. I’d have to be curious about where they are coming from, and wonder about life through their eyes. Hmmm.

Actionable Steps?

If I were to follow these laws of yours, when I’d see people, I’d probably begin to wonder what You’re thinking about them, and if you want me to help them.

I might begin to think of others so much that maybe I might follow through with actions, and send them a card, or a text, or a check. Or maybe, at least check in.

But They Don’t Deserve It!

You’ve got to know I can’t do that, Lord, especially if I’m mad at them! You know what they’ve done/not done/offended/said/didn’t say!

This is getting impossible. To love them well, I’d have to give up my right to stay angry at them. I’d have to stop being mad, and forgive them, again.

Kind of like you taught in the Lord’s prayer, that bit about forgiving others the way I want to be forgiven by you. Kind of like that 70 times 7 bit. Ouch.

Pray For Them, Too?

I guess if I weren’t mad at them anymore, I’d actually pray for them.

I’d want to bring them before You, and ask you to bless them, and help them out. I’d ask you to pour over their lives immeasurable, heaping gifts of grace, and wisdom, and that joy found only in You.

I’d care about what they care about, and pray about that, too.

You ask Really, Really Impossibly Hard Things, God.

Now, You’ve got to understand. I love you, I really do. Oh, and I love them, too, for sure, You know it’s true.

But I’ve been thinking about these commands of yours…and it seems like I might have been missing something…

Just maybe, if you tell us to live this way, (and it’s really just too hard), then you must have provided a means to obey you.

Your Holy Spirit!

You provide the power to obey, don’t you? You provide your strength, every single day, right?

You see that we don’t have the goodness in ourselves to obey these commands, not without you.

You think of everything, God.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,”

Acts 1:8a