Summer of Growth – Part I

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Luke 10:27 (NIV)


This summer God has invited me to grow in many areas of my life. Some of the ways I’ve been working on improving include: giving up control of everything but my own choices; diet and exercise; choosing joy instead of complaining; living intentionally; choosing at the beginning of everyday I will not take offense; and loving my husband and children completely.

Now, that seems like a big list and I wasn’t sure with all the other “responsibilities” I have on my plate I would remember every single area I was asked to grow in would get accomplished each day. Until, only God …

We had three deaths in three weeks in our extended family. Three. It was during that time of saying goodbye God spoke directly to my heart. He reminded me of this important truth. He gives only two commands for us to follow: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Two commands. I realized then if I choose to focus only on those two commands (love God first; love others more than myself) they cover everything in my long list above. When I choose to love God first and others more than myself, I will choose to give up controlling others because it’s not something God does, so why should I? I will choose to take care of my body (eating well and exercising) because I will choose to love my family more than loving food. I will choose joy instead of complaining because God commands us in the Bible to praise Him continually and when we do, that pleases Him. I will choose not to take offense but instead to think the best of others. And loving my husband and my children in the way they deserve and “hear” my love is also following God’s second command.

Does my life reflect living in obedience to these simple commands?

Instead of having to remember a long list of “to do’s” every day, I only have to focus on “loving God first” and “loving others more than I love myself.”

Only God would take a long list and condense it into two commands. Only God would encompass the previous long list into two simple commands. Only God.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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