(This is the third blog in our Month of KYLO series! If you’re reading Keep Your Love On with us, this corresponds to Chapters 7 and 8.)
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you can probably answer the question “What is the greatest commandment?” just like Jesus did:
Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ (Matthew 22:36-38 TPT)
But here’s another question we probably don’t consider often enough:
WHY is this the greatest commandment?
Every one of God’s commands is given for our benefit, not His. They are the expression of a loving Father who wants His children to walk in wisdom and wholeness, and to flourish as a result. When God tells us to love Him first with all we are, and then to love others as ourselves, He is revealing a core truth about how He designed us to live our best lives.
We were created in the image of a relational God with a relational design, and this design has an order and priority to it. Our first and most fundamental relationship is supposed to be with Him, the One who dreamed us up and brought us into existence. I call this our “God Spot.”
The greatest commandment tells us to keep God in our God Spot. He is perfect love. In commanding us to love Him with all that we are, He is simply describing how to reciprocate the love that He is already giving us. When we do so, we not only give to Him what is rightfully His—ourselves—we receive from Him what we most need at our core—identity, security, provision, belonging, and purpose.
Getting this priority relationship right is the key to getting our relationships with ourselves and others right. One of the most obvious signs that God is in our God Spot is that our relationships start to grow and flourish. Conversely, one of the biggest signs that God is not in our God Spot is that our relationships are out of order.
Here are 3 classic results when we put someone besides God in our God Spot:
1. OuR relationships are dysfunctional.
When we put other people in our God spot, we need them to give us what only God can give us—identity, security, provision, belonging, and purpose. This leads us to dynamics of manipulation, control, and codependency. The lines between ourselves and the other person aren’t defined properly, so we end up violating the relationship with various forms of disrespect.
2. We develop a history of broken relationships.
Dysfunction produces unresolved conflict, which produces disconnection. This creates a pattern of breaking up and falling out with people in our lives.
3. We end up living isolated, with few deep relationships.
When we’ve been hurt by dysfunctional and disconnected relationships, we react by withholding ourselves and keeping people at a distance. We form surface relationships with little substance. No one really knows us or has access to our core.
Putting other people in our God Spot destroys us and our relationships!
In contrast, loving God with all we are and looking to Him to meet our core needs enables us to developing patterns of relational health in our lives.
Here are 3 classic signs that God in in our God Spot:
1. Our relationships are respectful and healthy.
Something shifts in us when we learn to see ourselves and others with the understanding, “You and I are first children of God— We belong to Him before ourselves and each other. He is to the primary relationship in our lives.”
This understanding sets the framework for us to highly value one another and respect the boundaries and responsibilities that rest on each one of us. It helps to keep us from judging and withholding forgiveness from others, for doing so essentially means trying to be God in the other person’s life. And it keeps us aware of the standard of love that we are called and required to give one another—the same love that our Father gives to us.
2. Our relationships last.
The Father’s heart for us to walk in unbroken fellowship with Him goes side by side with His heart for us to do the same with each other. Protecting our connection with Him teaches us how to protect connection with one another. Instead of allowing conflict and mistakes to break us apart, we pull on the grace of our Father to forgive, repent, restore, and reconcile.
3. Our relationships look like family.
The ability to make lasting relational commitments sets us up to build an ecosystem of healthy relationships. In this ecosystem, we will have relationships where others are bringing strength to us (parents, leaders, coaches), where we are bringing strength to others (children, followers, employees), and where mutual strength is exchanged (spouses, friends, partners). Keeping God as our source enables us to nurture and manage these relationships so that we keep the flow of strength and sacrificial love alive, healthy, and protected.
Belonging in a life-giving family of relationships is what we were created for! The greatest picture of thriving in our lives is when we are learning from healthy parents and leaders, mutually serving our spouses, friends, and partners, and laying down our lives for our sons and daughters.
At our core, we all long to experience this rich relational life. Yet we must embrace the one key that makes it all possible—we must make sure that God is truly God in our lives, and that we are loving Him with all we are.
P.S: KYLO is still 50% off until January 31st! You can find it here 🙂