Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Most Difficult Command

By Joe Chesser
     What do you think is the most difficult command God has given us? I’m sure you could think of many options. I'm guessing the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 thought selling all his property and giving it to the poor was the most difficult thing God expected. And that would be tough, wouldn’t it? Others might think the command in Luke 9.23 to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus might the most difficult thing to do.  What about the command to make every effort to live at peace with all men (Hebrews 12.14)? All men? Really? That is challenging.
     To decide which command God has given is the most difficult of all may not be possible, or even necessary. But this question came to my mind when I read 1 Corinthians 16.14: “Let all that you do be done in love.” Now, that’s a tall order!
     This is not a difficult command because it is hard to understand. It’s a pretty simple statement. Do everything in love. You’d need help to misunderstand this. No, what makes this so challenging is that it is so unnatural for us. We do not naturally love like God does, especially in everything we do. God’s love is agape love, meaning that love is constantly looking for a way to do good to others regardless of how that love is received or returned. God is the epitome of “Let all that you do be done in love.” And through His transforming power, that is what we can become, but it goes against our human nature. Our love is inconsistent. Our love is conditional. Our love is biased. Our love is selfish.
     It’s not natural for husbands and wives to treat each other with love all day every day.  It’s not natural for parents to be 100% loving to their children all the time. It’s not natural for us to always be loving towards our neighbors or co-workers or even our friends. It’s not natural for us to do everything in love when in traffic or at ball games or in politics. It’s not natural for us to love the lost so much we will sacrifice our time, money and energy in taking the gospel to the whole world.
     It’s not natural. It’s very difficult. But it is possible. I know it’s possible because that what God says He expects of us. That’s why He taught us that the greatest command is to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and the second greatest command is to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12.30-31). That’s why it was necessary for Jesus to become flesh and go to the cross … so that we could witness love in action. That’s why God gave His powerful, active word (Hebrews 4.12) that can transform our minds to become like Him (Romans 12.2).
     Doing everything in love is a most difficult command. But it is possible!

 - Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at

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