As is the case with everything it starts with God.
I’m speaking to believers here of course, but take the time to really reflect on God and who he is. Infinite, immutable, omnipotent, righteous, perfect in every way.
Really get in there, think about this. Sovereign, in control of everything. Knowing the end from the beginning, working all things to his glory and to the good of those who love him. The only thing in existence worthy of praise, because through him all things are made.
Now, stop and look at yourself.
Whoring ourselves out to anything that can offer you a quick fix to your immediate pleasure. Even in our most righteous state, we are still unimaginably self centered and dirty.
Really get in there, into the darkest recesses of your mind where no one but you can hear the most intimate desires of your heart. Really focus on that for a second, is that desire for God? Is that desire wholesome? Is that desire a desire you honestly believe God looks favorably upon? Sin, is in the heart, not the act. By sheer desire for a thing, apart from God, we have committed idolatry. Like disobedient children, we choose our own way, completely defiant and ignorant to the right punishment we deserve.
The wages of sin is death. There is no other way to look at that. Now hold that thought for a moment.
Perfect God, compared to fallen man.
Focus on this now for a moment.
We deserve nothing, nothing but wrath.
Really stop and be honest with yourself, innocence vs. guilt. The guilty should die no?
Yes, by all rights we should die. Yet, instead of wrath, instead of death, instead of destruction, we receive mercy?
Not only mercy, but we receive God himself, as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins. To not only die for us, but to live the life we couldn’t possibly live. One of perfection, of righteousness, then obediently take death on a cross, and separation from the perfect communion with the God head.
We not only received this INCREDIBLE salvation, but we also received a place alongside God as co-heirs to the throne.
We are not worthy.
We will never be worthy.
We owe our everything to God, for his mercy, for his steadfast love, for his promise, for his good nature, for himself.
So how do you love your neighbor? The same way it began with God, and ends with God. You love them the way God loves you.
Unendingly, sacrificially, mercifully.