Scripture: Romans 13:
9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."[b] 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Observation: As we grow in spiritual grace and mature as spiritual beings, we should realize that our actions are expressions of the inner conditions of our soul.
Application: A little boy pulls a chair up to the counter and climbs up on it to reach for a cookie jar. Just as he has the cookie in his hand, his mother sees him and says, “Put that back, you’ll spoil your dinner.” The little boy puts the cookie back, not because he cares that he may spoil his dinner, but because he doesn’t want his mother to be angry with him. His mother doesn’t want the boy to fill up on sweets before he eats the healthy food she is preparing for him. The little boy doesn’t understand her reasons but obeys for fear of upsetting her. Later in his life the little boy may come to understand that his mother had a higher purpose in her restriction of the cookie. He may understand that her denial of the cookie before supper was an act of love because she wanted him to eat healthy food so that he could grow strong and develop good habits.
The ancient commandments of old often focused on how we relate to one another. Do not commit adultery, don’t kill, steal, covet, lie, treat your parents with respect, they all relate to our interactions with others. But Christ taught us the higher purpose behind the commandments, and Paul shares that purpose here in our scripture with the Romans. Love for one another, our fellow human beings is the foundation upon which all the commandments are built. They are all about loving each other.
If we could love one another with the Agape kind of love of which God has loved us, we would always be following God’s commands. We often operate outside of love. Within the Church, and within our families we fail to love as we should, we strive for ourselves before others, we bicker, we argue, we backbite and gossip about one another.
We are all like that little boy who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, we reach in for a treat that seems good and sweet to us (pride in self, gossip, selfishness, greed, ect.) , and God says “Put that back, you’ll spoil your love for one another.” We put it back, we stop, we obey so that we don’t upset God. But as we grow in our spiritual lives, we should realize the higher purpose of the commandments is not that we are to obey just to keep God happy, the higher purpose is so that we live our lives in love.
Prayer: God of Love,
Thank you for the commandments of your holy scripture. Help me to realize the deeper purposes, and higher values that they are built upon. Forgive me when I fail to operate and live my life out of love for all of Your Children. Increase my desire to follow your commands out of love rather than fear, for love is the deeper ocean from which we draw your wisdom and guidance.
Yield: I surrender my cookie.