The Right Order of Love

The Right Order of Love

March 11, 2014

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)

“I just want a boy to like me,” she said with a sigh.

My heart understands her desire. As I sat around my kitchen table with my small group of high school girls, I realized again how some things never change.

We all want to be wanted. Whether you’re a girl wanting a date with the guy in math class or a woman hoping for an invitation to lunch with a friend, each one of us wants to be wanted. To know we matter. To be chosen.

Wanting to be wanted is a good thing. It doesn’t mean we’re incredibly needy. It means we’re normal. In fact, God created us with this desire. Here are two reasons:

1) So we would want a relationship with Him.

God created us for the sake of love. He has so much love to share and He wants a relationship with us. He chose us; now we choose Him.

2) So we would want relationships with others.

God also created us with the desire to share our lives with others, for friendships and family too.

Things get tricky and difficult when we reverse the order of these desires, which we easily do.

Whether we want to be loved by a boyfriend, a friend or a husband, when we go looking to “the one” to meet our needs before we fall in love with The One, we can get ourselves in a world of trouble.

Today’s key verse from Matthew confirms the importance of this order. In this passage, an expert in the law asked Jesus the most important commandment. Jesus answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

Jesus is clear on the order. The first command is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. Then we are to love others.

God didn’t intend for people to fill our hearts with love. In fact, they couldn’t even if they tried! We aren’t equipped to do a job that big, as God never wants another to take His proper place.

When we love God with all we have first, our love expands, multiplies even, and we have more love to give to others. And that love is healthy because our hearts’ needs are met by Him first.

However, when we reverse God’s order and seek the love of others before God, our love source and its purity diminishes. Then love can become self-focused and unhealthy because our own God-designed needs aren’t met.

God created a love gap in us only He can fill. When we try to love others out of our human love, we can run out of love. We begin looking to others instead of overflowing on others.

God’s order is best. Get filled by Him first. Spill over to others after that.

Lord, it can be so much easier to look for love from those around me, those I can touch and see. Help me to keep love in order by first loving You with everything in me, and then allowing Your love to spill over on those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you have a young woman in your life who needs to know the truth of love in its proper order? His Revolutionary Love and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year help young women find True Love before looking for love.

Would you like the women in your community to hear this message? Consider bringing Lynn Cowell as a speaker to your church or group! Visit Lynn’s speaker page for more information.

Visit Lynn’s website today where she is sharing her top five verses for keeping love in order.

Reflect and Respond:
What negative effects can occur in our lives when our need to be wanted drives our actions?

What positive effects occur when we love God first and others second?

Power Verse:
Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, …” (NIV)

© 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. I enjoy marvelling at all the signs and wonders all around me. I can’t believe just how powerful God is showing His ♥ to all of us, no matter what we may thing love may actual……ly look like. I’m glad we’ve got an awesome God, who is creating miracles all over. Paying attention to what God’s doing will be the key to knowing jus what God is doing everywhere we can imagine to look. “Everything this world has to offer is temporary. Everything. The kind of love our souls crave is lasting, eternal. And only God can fill up our hearts with that kind of love.”Lysa TerKeurs Nevertheless, the things of this world aren’t going to completely satisfy us whatsoever. Wordly things will only fulfill us for a little while; however, God’s ♥ is unconditional, and it’ll fulfill us forever and always. I’m glad that God loves me, no matter if I do things wrong. God loves me just as I am, despite my physical disability of having cerebral palsy. God doesn’t see me with any flaws. No one else can give us unconditional love the way God can. ♥ “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 We need to focus more on what is unseen, rather than the things that we can see in the physical universe. I ♥ seeing all the miracles that God brings into this world at all times, as you can see God’s awesomeness everywhere we may happen to look. Nevertheless, our need to be wanted in life can often cause negative actions. I think that negative actions like being jealous of another rson’s relationship can cause us to lose friendships. Forunately, there’s no jealousy between me and my husband, Ron Smith because nothing can or will ever come between our bond.When we ♥ God first and others second, others will want to know why we’re so positive all the time. People will then want to know more about our spirituality, want to know more about God’s love. God’s ♥ will shine off of us onto those we meet.
    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
    What a powerful set of commandments! We need to first >3 God with all our heart, mind, and soul. Then, the ♥ should be transferred to others. This will happen if we treat others the way we’d like to be treated ourselves God wants our love before we choose to love other people. Don’t we all want to be loved unconditionally by family, friends, our spouces, or a boyfriend/girlfriend? God has a place in my heart that can’t be taken up by another person, as I believe that everything is possible with God, no matter what we may ask Him for in life.
    “Lord, it can be so much easier to look for love from those around me, those I can touch and see. Help me to keep love in order by first loving You with everything in me, and then allowing Your love to spill over on those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”~Lynn Cowell What a very true prayer for tonight! I want to be loved by God. I also want to be used by God to pour His love out to those who may not feel like they’re loved enough. God can use me to love those who may be feeling lonely at some time or another because they may feel like they’re not worthy enough for love by God. God wants us to know that we’re worthy enough to be loved by Him, needless of just how we may be feeling. Deuteronomy 10:12, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, …”~ (NIV) Unconditionally is how God wishes to ♥ me. I ♥ God with all that is within me, and I will bless Him at all times. I don’t know where I’d even be without God ever in my life. I wouldn’t like being prone to the devil messing with my mind, trying to get me to do his bidding.See More

  2. God’s love is so unbelievably amazing. This reminds me, when God is first everything else in our lives fall into its proper order and we can be satisfied wherever we may be in life. Loving God first points to the verse in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you…” Loving God first and foremost is where it all should begin. Great reminder. :)

  3. Linda Mc says:

    I’m older now but reading your article just brought it all back. Right out of high school, actually the summer before was when it began. My parents hadn’t really kept up with church going, we were all at least Christened. But the very first moment I saw this guy I thought he was the one and I was instantly in love. We got married 5 days after my 18th birthday, the day I moved out of the house. My parents were totally against it, he was a bad boy and had a juvenile record the length or longer of your arm. But it dawned on me, sunk in, that’s why I went from relationship to relationship until I finally met “the one”, my fifth. I’ve been blessed to know my Savior and to love him and of course I’m not the same person I was. I’m happy, feel so blessed. We bought a house and it’s the first home I’ve ever bought, I’m 63 and my husband is 74. I do have two children from my first husband and seven grandchildren who are all different personalities and problems like growing up. My oldest two, the boys are 15 and the youngest is 2. Thanks for your article, it set my head straight.

    • Thank you for sharing Linda, you have no idea how much your reply has helped me!

    • Linda, His message of love toward us is needed at any and every age! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Wow!!! Linda, this too hit home for me. I was a ministers kid and rebelled at 15 and spent years going the wrong way. I’ve never understood why I could’ve so made all the wrong choices that I did 45 years ago but this article really helped me to understand. Had of I made The Lord my first love many years ago I wouldn’t have made so many wrong decisions. But!!! Thanks be to God for His grace and forgiveness, He was always right there waiting for me to surrender my life to Him. And I did! And I too am a different person. So glad you you posted on here too, and I am so glad you are blessed in your life now too!

  4. Thank you for sharing this, so timely for me. I have been struggling to let God into the secret place of my heart. Submission! I honestly don’t think I have truly let anyone in. There is healing that needs to take place, He is the only one that can do it. I am really in need of a breakthrough from pride, that “I can do it on my own mentality.” Growing up my dad wasn’t able to show me that he loved me, very cold, very distand. I have let this relationship transform my every interaction with people.

    • Gabby – you are already taking the first step – seeing your need for His love to break through! Keep saying “yes” to Jesus; letting Him in the secret corners of Your heart. When His love fills our love gap, it begins to overflow so we can in turn truly love others!

  5. It is God’s truth that sets us free! And this is one of them

  6. Peace Mirembe says:

    Thank you Lynn for today’s devotion. May God help us to love him first & our neighbours also

  7. I got the order wrong at first Lynn but have got it right now. God is #1! Thanks for this good post.

  8. Thank you for the beautiful devotional this morning. I truly think that my 14 year old daughter would benefit from those devotionals so count me in. Thanks. Have a great day :)

  9. Christina says:

    If I was capable of sending this to myself 20 years then that would be great. A possiblity of avoiding the “negatives” that were mentioned above. Of course the flip side is now: I learned this lesson of loving God first with all my heart and all my soul by those negatives I experienced. My appreciation of His love runs deep.

  10. I have been working really hard to make God #1 in my life. For the past couple of weeks I have been reading my bible daily for 30 minutes, praying throughout the day, and keeping my focus on him. I have been a Christian my whole life, I’m not perfect and I have made mistakes. I have been married for 12 years and my husband looks to me to fill his cup. He attends church when he feels like it but won’t become a member. I try to talk to him about God, but he gets defensive and doesn’t understand faith, waiting on God, and even gets jealous when I try to read my bible intending of spending that time with him. I heard somewhere on a devotion or Christian program someone who said, “You can’t be his holy spirit, at some point you have to let yourself off the hook.” I will never be able to fill him to way God can and it is a lot of pressure on our marriage as he can’t understand any of this. He may never get there either.

  11. You’ve no idea how much I needed to hear this message this morning. I have struggled for many years with seeking validation and love from others. It seems like I always love “them” more than they love me. I know that no one except God can meet all my needs still….I struggle with relationships that usually seem to “go south”. I’ve been praying much on this of late. Please pray that God will open my eyes and heart to the changes I need to make in my life and that I will be reminded only God can be first in my life.

  12. God love is AMAZING ! ! ! !
    Love the Lord our God with ALL you mind, body, and soul and all other things shall fall appropriately in place.
    Love conquers ALL ! ! ! ! It is a JOY TO LOVE ! ! ! !
    On that note ladies and gents, please check out my web site below, you will be happy and blessed that you did.
    joytolive.net/bridgettebethell
    God Bless ! ! ! !

  13. Lynn:
    Awesome devotional! You know how sometimes you can be reading something and you know that God is speaking directly to you. Well, God definitely spoke to me when reading this devotional. I am divorced and want a second chance at love so bad. I have been praying for Mr. Right to come into my life. I may see now why my prayers have not been answered. I need to fall in love with God first, with my mind, body and soul. Of course! What have I been thinking! LOL
    Thank you for such an awesome devotional!

  14. There was a worship song when I was young that said “if I had it to do all over again I’d serve Jesus every day of my life”. I still struggle every day with putting Christ on the throne of my heart. That is where true love and peace exists.

  15. Thank you for this reminder. I really want to believe/accept it but honestly I feel more hurt/angry than anything. I struggle trying to reconcile that God said “It is NOT good for man to be alone” when God was with Adam and the notion that God is supposed to be enough. If God is enough than why didn’t he stop with the creation of Adam. It could’ve been just the two of them hanging out in the Garden for all eternity. I think God created us with needs that can only be met through our fellow man. Isn’t that part of the major blessing of Jesus, that we have a high priest who can identify with our human experiences, even our human needs. It has been proven that human babies actually die without physical contact even with proper nutrition. For those of us who grew up in homes without love but plenty of religion, sometimes just being shown kindness by a person can bring God close enough so we can actually reach out to Him. I believe we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Sometimes it has seemed to me like people want to offer God as the resource to meet peoples needs instead of getting their own hands dirty, ie being vulnerable and sacrificing time to meet another persons need for relationship. PLEASE hear this coming from a heart that is hurting and wanting to see where I am apparently missing an important point. I welcome any exhortation even admonishment if applicable.

  16. This is so insightful. I needed to be reminded of this. Thank you for this post.

  17. I too like many of the others on here have struggled with making God my first. I met and married my high school sweetheart and we had three kids. I truly believed God put us together forever, however I found out that my husband of 12 years had an affair. I’ve been heartbroken and devastated. Once I stopped crying about it I flung myself full force into God. I find when I take my eyes off Him is when love is hard to see. God showed me that we are to give our whole heart to God so that we have nothing left of ourselves to give. In that way when we love someone else or even ourselves we can only love with God’s heart because He owns ours. When you love God with all your heart there is perfection there. As a result your love for others exudes His grace and mercy even in their imperfections!

  18. Thank you for this devotion.

  19. Y Medina says:

    This devotion was such a blessing to me!!! It gave fresh insight to a verse I have read over and again, but seemed to have lost meaning to me. I confess to even “skimming” over these verses the last time I had read them. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to a new point of view. Blessings!

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