"Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40I can think of no aspect of life that cannot be properly guided when viewed through the lense of these, the greatest commandments, given to us from the mouth of Jesus himself, and recorded by many witnesses.
It could and would take more than infinite lifetimes to comprehend what that kind of love means, in our thoughts, words, and actions. If we want to live the best life possible, we must always strive to do this, however that looks in each of our circumstances. When we become distracted with our day-to-day ordinary, we must search for Him in our midst. God is here, He is always here, waiting to give us wisdom when we ask for it, showing us which way to turn, which bend in the road we are to take.
The second part does not just say love your neighbor, it says love your neighbor as yourself. You must first love yourself, even if you consider yourself unloveable. When we don't love ourselves, we are placing ourselves above God himself. If he loves us, however unworthy of love we may be, who are we to refuse to do so? Note that Jesus says the second command is equally important! He doesn't say, "And oh, by the way, you should do this too."
Here is the part that I love looking into - "The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." Remember the long list of rules in kindergarten? Wouldn't it be pretty easy for a student to do something that wasn't in the best interest of another student or themselves and claim innocence based on the fact that the particular behavior wasn't included on the list of rules? It's the same with life. There are sets of rules everywhere we turn. Where we live, how we live is guided by rules of some sort or another. There are rules set by continents, nations, states, cities, neighborhoods, churches, schools, work places, transportation, food standards, pharmaceuticals, family rules, support groups, relationships, war, etc... Some rules are written, some are unwritten and unspoken, but they are understood nonetheless. We learn these rules from the very beginning of our lives. At some point, we are faced with the realization that we must constantly make decisions regarding which behavior will satisfy obedience to the rules, and if we even care to obey them. What would it be like if we only had two rules to guide our decisions?
We do. The problem always becomes, what does loving God, loving ourselves and loving our neighbors look like? I'm not remotely suggesting that I have the answers to these questions. Every person will have their own ideas of what that looks like. But for those of us who care to find God's will for our lives, I'm suggesting that if we use these as guideposts for every decision we make in our ordinary, day-to-day lives, always seeking to grow in wisdom, we will be doing our part to love well and live well. God provided a place to find wisdom, all we have to do is ask for it, to seek it.
Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.