Love is the greatest commandment. Matthew 22:35-40 “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” The Law and the Prophets hang on the commandments of love.
The Apostle Paul also states that loving others fulfills the law. Romans 13:8-10 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Let us look at how love fulfills the law and accomplishes what God wants from us.
First, we need to know what love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” To me, one of the most important characteristics of love is that it does not seek its own. Love is not selfish, but seeks the good of the one that is loved.
If you were to commit adultery, you would not be thinking of the good of your spouse but of your own selfish desires. If you were to commits murder, you would be thinking of your hatred or the revenge you can take on the individual being murdered. If you were to steal, you would be thinking of your lust for what you are taking and not on the loss or needs of the one being stolen from. If you were to bears false witness, you would be thinking of what you might gain from the witness you give and not about the good of the one being lied about. If you were to covet something, you would be thinking of your lust and desire. In each one of these sins that you might commit, you would be selfish and would not be demonstrating love. If you had true love, you would not commit these sins.
The apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.” The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are all selfish. They are not seeking the good of God or of others. They are characteristics of self-love and not of love for others. That is the way of the world – selfishness.
As a Christian, you are commanded to love – love God and love your neighbor. That means you are commanded to not seek your own, but seek the good of God and your neighbor. In seeking the good of God, you would be worshiping Him, obeying His commands, and working for the increase of His kingdom. In seeking the good of your neighbor, you would be seeking the fulfillment of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of your neighbor. For example, if they are sick, you would seek their health. If they are discouraged or depressed, you would seek their encouragement. If they are lost, you would seek their salvation.
I encourage you to defeat selfishness in your life. Instead, grow your love for God and your neighbor. In this way you will fulfill the law of God.