[After Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God, he continued:] "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 22:39-40 NLT
Jesus emphasized and displayed love. God uses it to describe his essential nature (1 John 4:16). The Holy Spirit pours it into our hearts (Romans 5:5) and produces it as they fruit of God's presence in your lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus stressed it would be our identifying quality as his disciples (John 13:35).
When it comes to discipleship, Christian virtue, spiritual character, and ultimate holiness, it all boils down to love. Now we're not talking about some sappy, insipid, fleeting emotion. We're talking about that determined, disciplined, and deliberate commitment to others to work what is for their best good in every situation. Love means caring and sacrificing for others. Love means supporting and encouraging others. But love also means correcting and disciplining others. Love means standing up for truth when others want to abandon it — no matter their reason or motivation.
We are to love God from our toenails to the tops of our heads. But we cannot claim to love God and not love others. It all boils down to love.
Holy and loving God, thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Please help me to show that same love, not only to you, but also to your children. Please give me the strength of character to love others as you have loved me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.