“You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:13–17)
The second table of the Ten Commandments sets a high standard for serving the best interest and well-being of a neighbor. Remember what Jesus said to the teacher of the Law about who is your neighbor? It is who you are with, not just someone who happens to live in your neighborhood.
God’s people are to respect and protect their neighbor’s life, marriage or home, property, and good name. We are not even to desire anything that belongs to a neighbor. Growing up, it was okay to borrow a neighbor’s equipment, but once finished with its use, you were to take it back cleaned up and in good working order, no matter how it might have looked with you borrowed it.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You have taught up the importance of moral and ethical behavior, as it applies to our neighbors. We are to respect them, help them whenever possible, offer friendship to them at all times and to seek to serve them as you would anyone else. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray in humble appreciation of all You do for us continually. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God made His people for worship—-never for wickedness.”
“Everything is permissible”—-but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—-but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (1st Corinthians10:23–24)
Beloved, Christ frees us from sin. Such freedom does not sell us to the slavery of selfish indulgence.
Other people and their best interests set limits on my behavior. Christian disciples look after our neighbors’ welfare rather than our own. This is an example of “Agape” love. That which seeks the very best for others, rather than for ourselves.
“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pay that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon1:4-7)
This letter to Philemon is the shortest of all Paul’s writings. Philemon’s chief contribution to the New Testament comes from the insight which this letter provides into Paul’s methods of dealing with the practice of slavery. The letter to Philemon was delivered to him by Onesimus, who had been a slave of his before leaving to serve with Paul. This letter, along with one for Colossians and Ephesus were probably also delivered by Onesimus. The subject of neighbor love is appropriate at all times. Life, even that of discipleship, needs refreshment for all of us. Christian love is strong encouragement to others. It refreshes the hearts of brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul notes that, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” This is a lesson for young and mature Christians, that ought to be taught periodically.
Second Thought of the Day:
“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.’ All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37–40)
Christian love is the active, vitalizing power necessary in Christian living. Jesus command to love God is directed primarily to the will rather than the emotions. It means to esteem God, to regard Him above all else, to give Him unchallenged first place, and to give His claims unquestioned priority. This love means, likewise, to esteem all that God esteems, to love what God loves to the extent not only of doing but of being. Our lives are to radiate Christ’s love continuously.
Christian relationships must be built on love; Christian fellowship must be maintained in love; and Christian service must be motivated by love. Love, of its own nature, produces the fruits of Christian devotion and service. The love Jesus commands eliminates injustice in human relations. It fulfills the law by abstaining from all that law forbids. Jesus states that the twofold love commandment fulfills “the Law” and “the Prophets,” which when combined indicates the whole Old Testament.