Usually when people say “love is not enough,” they are speaking about romance. That’s related, I suppose, but not central to the discussion here. Nonetheless, if your interest is romance, it is easy enough to google the phrase and find out why love alone will not sustain a romance.
Still, I hope you will terry a while. The subject here is at least as important as a floundering romance.
When Jesus walked among us 2,000 years ago, He came because He loves us, and He want us to love Him and each other. His love, however, was not enough to save us. His love only motivated Him to save us. Because of His mercy, we live. Because of His grace, we have the opportunity to live with Him forever.
God loves us, but He could not ignore our sins. Yes, God is Love, but God is also Truth and Justice, and Justice requires recompense. Therefore, because He loves us, Jesus paid the price for sins. Jesus’s grace and mercy saved us from Hell, at least those of us who both believe they need and have faith in Jesus’ grace and mercy.
Just as love was not enough for Jesus to save us, love alone is not enough to live as followers of Christ. Yet we tend to think otherwise. Why? We allow passages like this one to confuse us.
Matthew 22:34-40 Good News Translation (GNT)
The Great Commandment
34 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they came together, 35 and one of them, a teacher of the Law, tried to trap him with a question. 36 “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Consider that last verse: “The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Many people seem to think that if we love God and each other we have done all we must do. No. Jesus wants more from us than goo goo eyes. He wants us to know the whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets, what it is that depends upon our love.
Love motivates us to avoid sin and do what is right, but love is not the same as doing what is right. What did Jesus require of those who love Him?
John 14:15 Good News Translation (GNT)
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
Was this a trivial command? No. If we love God, we will try to obey Him. Nevertheless, on our own we do not have sufficient strength or wisdom. Thus, in the next verse Jesus promised us a Helper, the Holy Spirit.
So what must we do if we love Jesus? To obey Jesus, we must learn what He wants us to do, and love is not a substitute for knowledge and wisdom.
We must read the Bible. Because the Son of God inspired the Bible, we must glean from the Bible whatever wisdom we can. That is, we must study the Bible and pray for the Holy Spirit to help us understand what Jesus intended for us to learn from the Bible.
As Benjamin Franklin observed, there are many virtues besides love (see BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON PRIDE AND HUMILITY). To obey Jesus, we each must acquire as many virtues as we can. To do that, we must carefully study the Bible and learn to live by its teachings.
Here are several posts that consider the importance of wisdom from differing directions.
- We have fallen into the darkness of ignorance (thei535project.wordpress.com): This post observes our fallen nature.
- Stuff and nonsense (thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com): This post evaluates the absurdity of rejecting the truth of God and the Bible.
- King Solomon, Amygdala Pathway to Wisdom (rudymartinka.wordpress.com): This post looks at the relationship between wisdom and fear, why the fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.