When Christ was asked, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ He answered:

Mark 12:29-31- And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

This is pretty straight forward:
· Love God with all that you are (see Deuteronomy 6:5).
· Love your neighbor as you love yourself (see Leviticus 19:18).

We clearly understand who God is: Yahweh, Jehovah, The Lord our God.

But who does Christ consider our neighbor? Fortunately for us, Christ clearly answers this question in the parable of the Good Samaritan (read Luke 10:25 – 37).

Luke 10:36
- Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

According to this parable and the discussion that followed, who does Christ consider to be our neighbor?

- Does He specifically mean the people that live in our neighborhood?
- What about the people we enjoy hanging out with?

The message is clear; Christ is telling us that our neighbors are those who need us. Those who need mercy from us are our neighbors (a friend in need is a friend indeed).

What does Christ teach us about mercy and forgiveness?

Luke 6:36- Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Mark 11:25- And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

And as Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, what did he teach us about being encouraging/comforting to others as we have been comforted of God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
- Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

We can sit and talk about God’s Word all night. We can memorize scriptures. We can have Bible study with our Christian brothers and sisters. We can pray continually!

But are we truly being obedient if we do not apply the things that Christ is teaching us?

Have you ever heard it said that someone is so Heavenly minded they are of no earthly good?

Well guess what. The Bible tells us to apply what we learn!

James 1:22- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

John 14:15
- If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 13:17- If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Matthew 7:24- Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Bow your head and ask God to reveal to you:
- From who have you withheld mercy?
- Who needs encouragement that you have refused to give?
- Who have you not forgiven?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, my God and my King, break my heart for those in my life that you have commanded me to show mercy, encouragement, and forgiveness. Forgive my pride. Forgive my selfishness. May Your grace, mercy, and love flow through me. Only through Your strength are these things possible. I submit myself to You Dear Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Amen.