A More Excellent Way

Dave Gifford

READ : Matthew 22:34-40

As a young believer I concluded that Jesus made living for God easier, based on my initial interpretation of today’s reading. I equated love with a vague sense of goodwill. I thought, “Jesus took all those burdensome Old Testament rules and replaced them with love. Loving is easy.” I’ve since discovered just how demanding love is!

True love for anyone requires commitment, humility, patience, forgiveness, vulnerability and usually sacrificial giving. Loving God with all one’s being is just as difficult. How much of my life reflects love of myself rather than love of God? Jesus may have made God’s will easier to remember by summarizing it so briefly, but he certainly did not make it easier to live out!

How much easier it seems when we reduce the Christian life to a few formulas and prohibitions. How convenient life would be if religion were simply a limited number of habits required of us to pick up.

Jesus’ death on the cross shouts at us that true love for fallen humans was painful and costly for God. We learn from the encouragement and strength of God who knows suffering. Perhaps this is why Jesus later says simply: “Love

as I have loved you.


Help me, Redeemer, by your power and stunning example, to love until it hurts and helps, just as love hurt you. Amen.