Too often in church we put so much emphasis on our relationship with God that we neglect our relationship with others. When in fact, our relationship with God is no deeper than our relationship with others. You may view yourself as having your act together spiritually. Maybe you are faithful in many things that enhance a walk with God; prayer, studying the Word, fasting, faithful church member, big contributor, adhering to doctrinal beliefs. However, we know from Jesus Himself, that it is not enough to just love God.
Jesus said in Matthew 22 that we are to love God first and then in conjunction with that, love our neighbor as ourselves. It was not an A or B answer. The two are connected. If you love God, then you will love your neighbor as yourself. Like Siamese twins sharing vital organs, one is dependent upon the other.
If we want to love upward to God, then we must love outward to our fellow man. You cannot say you have the love of God in you if you do not love your neighbor. This does not mean we have to get along all the time and agree on everything. You love your family, at least I hope you do, and still have fights. What Jesus was saying is that you cannot say you love God when you do not show the love of God to your neighbor. John said it this way, “If a man say, I love God , and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
If we are going to love God, upward, then we must love our brother, outward. The cross itself testifies of this. As Jesus hung there suspended between heaven and earth, one board held him upward, as another held his hands outward. Our love must be both vertical to God and horizontal to our fellow men. It is time for a relationship check. How are things with your upward relationship? What areas can you improve your outward relationship? Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Love others more than you love your own life.