So as we’ve been walking through all these videos talking about God’s existence—His love for us, how He looks at us as His masterpiece—we’ve got to be thinking to ourselves, Okay, look, God has done all this stuff for me, but the real question is, what does He want from me? That’s a great question to ask, because the Bible clearly identifies the reality of what God wants from us.
See, God wants you and me to love Him with everything we’ve got. I mean, a total type of love. Not that kind of love where it’s like Yo, I love you as long as you can give me what I want, or I love you as long as it’s a benefit for me to be around you. It’s not that kind of love. It’s the kind of love that God unpacks in Deuteronomy 6:5 when He tells the nation of Israel, Yo, I want you to love Me with all you got. Your mind, your heart, your soul, your strength, your whole being. I want it all. I want you to love Me with every ounce of energy that you have. So if God wants us to love Him with all that we’ve got, the question is, how do we do that? The answer is very simple: we obey His commands. The beautiful truth that we find in Scripture that God puts us up on game about what He wants from us, what He desires us to do, how He wants all of us, it’s found in His Word. We’ve got to go back to the Scriptures to read the Scriptures to understand this is what God wants me to do. This is what He asks of me. This is the thing that He is telling me that I need to do so that He can get the glory. He’s going to work those things out for good in my life.
You know, I love my wife. Elicia and I have been together for many, many, many years. It would crush my heart if I ever found that she had given her heart to somebody else while we were married. It would break me, man, if I went through a drawer and found letters and text messages or inbox messages or DMs on Twitter from some other dude that she was like trying to talk to. Now praise God that ain’t a reality for our relationship, but man, you and I would be crushed if the person that we love totally doesn’t love us back. Perhaps you’ve even felt like that - maybe from a parent, maybe from a friend, maybe from a family member that you love - and you’re like, man, I’m always there for you. But you never feel like you get that love back. Take a step back and think, man, maybe do I do God that way?
But the good thing about God is not only did He give us that great commandment to love Him with all we had, He also gave us the great commitment. What’s crazy about the great commitment is that there’s a responsibility that we see on our end, but there’s also a reward. See, Jesus in Matthew 22, somebody said, Okay, look, Jesus. They were trying to trick Him like they always were. They said, Jesus, look man, what is the greatest commandment in all the Scriptures? Guess what Jesus told them? Deuteronomy 6:5. He told them, Yo, love your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul. Everything you got, love God with that. And then He challenged them. He said, And the second greatest commandment is love your neighbor as yourself.
Ah, that’s when it starts making sense. See, that great command to love God—we do that by being obedient. So if we obey His commands, then Jesus said, Okay, if you really love God with all you got, then love your neighbor as yourself. You know the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12, where it says, “Treat others as you want to them to treat you.” Man, keeping it 100, I have not always done that every day of my life. There’s times when I’ve gotten mad at people for nothing, times I got frustrated with them, times I played people off. All that faulty stuff that I did in my life that was wrong because then I get all feelings in my feelings when somebody treats me that way, but then I think it’s cool when I do it because I make a justified response, Obviously, you don’t know what’s been done to me. That’s not loving God with all we got. We love God with all we got when we love the people around us, when we think the best, when we forgive them for what they’ve done to us. Is it easy? Nah, you all know it’s not easy. I know it’s not easy.
But that’s where great commitment has a reward. The reward is that God is committed to us. See, God tells us in Romans chapter 8 that when we embrace Jesus as our Savior, God the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. So God the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and He gives us the power to say no to treating people wrong and to say yes to loving them like we would love ourselves. We can fulfill both the great commandment and the great commitment because God the Holy Spirit lives inside of us who are believers in Jesus Christ. He’s committed to us so we can be committed to the ones who are around us.
As you go into your discussions, man, talk with your leaders about some of the things that even in their lives they’ve done to love those who are around them. Maybe you’ve done some offensive things to your leaders. Maybe there are people in your youth group that have done some offensive things to you or things that you’re thinking of that, man, you did that and that was kind of throwing salt on somebody, or you threw shade on somebody over there because of what you said. Maybe you should go to them and ask them to forgive you for what you did because now you have a better understanding of the great commandment, but also of the great commitment. And I pray that you will be challenged after the discussions to be committed to showing the love of God to those in your youth group, those in your home, those in your hood, those in your schools—everywhere you go. When people look at you, man, make sure they see that you’re a billboard for the God that you’re obedient to. When they ask you, “Man, why you acting like that?” Let them know, “I love my God with all I got. There’s no other way I can act outside of being faithful to show the love that I have for Him to those around me.”