How to love God

Let’s review the Ten Commandments. What was the first one?

A sign says 'Rule #1: Don't pick up the goats'

Well, the Ten Commandments can be hard to remember. I guess it’s a good thing that this month we are learning about how Jesus shortened them for us by giving us what is called the Greatest Commandment.

Someone once asked Jesus which of God’s rules was the most important. Jesus’ reply recorded in Matthew 22:34-40, actually had two parts. He essentially told us to

Love God, and love your neighbor.

What a minute; I don’t remember either of those as one of the Ten C. What gives?

Jesus didn’t pick from the ten; he summarized all of the commandments into two. In fact we see that this nicely divides the Ten Commandments! The first four of the ten, show us how to love God (Exodus 20:3-11). The last six show us how to love others (Exodus 20:12-17).

Love God Love Others
1.  Do not worship any god except me. 5.  Respect your father and mother.
2.  Do not make statues of gods (idols). 6.  Do not murder.
3.  Do not misuse my name. 7.  Do not commit adultery.
4.  Remember the Sabbath day. 8.  Do not steal.
9.  Do not tell lies about others.
10. Do not long for what belongs to
someone else.

Here is a discussion outline for your family to take a closer look at following the first portion of the Greatest Commandment: How to love God.

(For a discussion guide on talking about how to love others, look here.)

Spend time as a family (at the family dinner table perhaps) with everyone sharing one glad and one sad for the day. (Don’t try to fix anything, just listen and celebrate / commiserate.)

a blue line

Tell kids that you are going to play a game. Have everyone think of something they love (a person, a place or a thing). Also have everyone think of something that they don’t love. Then go around the table and have everyone say “I love ____” filling in the blank with something that they love or don’t love. Have everyone decide if they really do love that item. Play a few rounds. Who can stump everyone with their choices?

Ask: What clues tell us that you love something?
How do you suppose people know that we love God?
How do we show that we love God?
Make a list and post it on the fridge! Are you doing these things every day?

A list of ways to love God

Not to detract from following the Ten Commandments but if we focus on loving God, in a sense we will be living the first four of the Ten Commandments and won’t have to worry about the details. By loving God we will be automatically obeying the first four commandments!

Photo credits:
For the love of goats (a sign at a petting zoo) by Gord McKenna, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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