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Ahh February, the Love Month
By Wayne R. Nelson

Because of St. Valentine’s Day, February is often thought of as the "Love Month". It is the month with some of the highest candy sales of the year, and just try to get a florist to exhibit at a Bridal Show around Valentine’s Day! The florists are so swamped at this time of the year that they won’t leave their businesses for anything, even with the prospect of losing hundreds of leads for upcoming bride’s weddings.

Yes indeed, February is well noted as the "Love Month" celebrated with candy and flowers. Unfortunately, this is the only time of the year when many people will dwell on thoughts of love.

But this shouldn’t be, for in God’s Holy Word, there is a prescription for being reminded of love 365 days a year, year in and year out. This prescription for love found its way into the New Testament because a Pharisee, who also happened to be a lawyer (wouldn’t you know it) asked Jesus a question designed to trip Him up. The entire episode is recorded in Matthew 22:34-40.

Basically, the wily lawyer of the Pharisaic party asked Jesus which was the great commandment in the law. If Jesus had chosen one, He would have been placing all other commandments on a lower level. This would have meant that the Ten Commandments were lower in value than the one great commandment, which would have been sure to lead to a charge of blasphemy being laid against Jesus.

But Jesus sidestepped their trap. He gave two prime commandments, not one. In answer to the lawyer’s question, Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:37-39 KJV).

Jesus then went on to explain that on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (v. 40), just in case the Pharisees were going to charge Him with blasphemy.

When you carefully look at the Ten Commandments, you can see just what Jesus meant. Here are the first four Commandments:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me;
2. Thou shalt not make into thee any graven image;
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; and
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

Each of these Commandments deals with our relation to God Almighty, which is the first great commandment that Jesus gave.

Then there are the last six Commandments:

5. Honor thy Father and Mother;
6. Thou shalt not kill;
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery;
8. Thou shalt not steal;
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness; and
10. Thou shalt not covet.

These all deal with man’s relationship to his fellow man, which was the second Great Commandment that Jesus gave.

So instead of placing the Ten Commandments on a secondary level to some new commandment, Jesus merely summed up the Ten Commandments based on their relationship between either God and man, or man and man. Instead of the negative, "Thou shall not," Jesus turned it into a positive and based the commandments on man’s love for his God and his fellow man. This truly is a daily prescription for love that, if followed, will result in a life that not only is lived to the fullest, but will be lived to the total potential of the individual. War would be unheard of in a world where these two love commandments are strictly followed. There would be no terror or terrorists, and all would live in perfect harmony.

If you think that this sounds like Heaven, you are right, it does; but that was the climate in which Adam and Eve were created. If they had only obeyed the first love commandment, loving God with all their hearts, they would have never fallen and sin would not have entered the world. It was when they started loving themselves more than they loved God that they decided to increase their knowledge and, in the process, fall from the presence of God, giving sin a foothold in this world.

So during this "Month of Love", where the love theme is shouted from every candy counter and florist, as well as from every greeting card shop, won’t you give some thought to the two commandments Jesus gave us? I know that the world can’t be turned into a heavenly paradise overnight, probably not even in a millennia, but if you and I try as hard as we can to faithfully follow the two love commandments of Jesus, our lives will be better for it, and so will the life of our fellow man.

Who knows, maybe this love thing can catch on. At least it’s worth a try every day – 365 days a year, instead of only paying homage to love during one short month of the year.
Dr. Nelson is the author of one book, "Walk Where Jesus Walked" and is taking yet another step in the journey his Lord has called him to – namely helping the babes in Christ mature, as well as helping other more mature Christians go deeper into God's word. He brings this love for God’s Word and His people to his role as Editor of A Word in Season.
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