The 2nd love commandment is intrinsically linked to God’s 1st love commandment which instructed ‘have no other gods before me’. Remember, the 1st love commandment is all about “pride” (or being your own god) when disobeyed. Well this commandment when disobeyed, explains how a person fuels that pride. Thus, the 1st love commandment and the 2nd love commandment go hand-in-hand: If either of them is disobeyed, they are BOTH being disobeyed; or if either of them is kept, they are BOTH being kept. Let’s investigate.
The best way to begin understanding this commandment is again (just like the first commandment) to scrutinize what happened to Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. Listen to Ezekiel write about him: “Every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, emerald, carbuncle, and gold … from the day that thou was created … and by the MULTITUDE of thy MERCHANDISE they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned … Thine heart was lifted up (meaning prideful) because of thy beauty, and thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28: 13-17). Do you see it? Lucifer was prideful over physical things! His mind (or better judgment) was corrupted by the fact that he placed value in materialism. And then he wanted control over MORE of it, for that fed his ego! He wanted to be God, remember? How foolish. So in his prideful, idolatrous state, more sin (or love-less) dominos began to fall, and he sinned further by lying to Eve (disobeying 9th LC) and murdering the souls of mankind (disobeying 6th LC) to become the god of this world. Listen closely; an “inordinate love for the physical world” is what disobedience to God’s 2nd love commandment (or idolatry) is ALL about!
Amazingly, a careful look at Satan’s discussion with Eve (and her thought process) in the Garden of Eden (right before she sinned) even further confirms everything I am telling you about how disobedience to God’s first two love commandments (pride & idolatry in the heart) are the first steps towards ALL kinds of sin (love-less deeds). Listen to how Lucifer enticed her: “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof … YE SHALL BE AS GODS” (Genesis 3:5). Do you see it? Lucifer stroked her pride first! Then, listen to Eve’s thought process after Satan’s words: “And when the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it was PLEASANT to the EYES, and a tree to be DESIRED … she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat” (Genesis 3:6). Do you see the lust for seeable physical things? Yes, pride & idolatry (or disobedience to God’s first two love commandments) were the factors that led Eve to sin, just like Lucifer!
Now once Adam & Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit from the “tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good & Evil”, they instantly knew (or became aware of) God’s 10LC in their heart: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to KNOW good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). In other words, mankind now faced the daily choice of either obeying God’s 10LC (doing good) or disobeying them (doing evil) during their lifetime on Earth. And sadly, it didn’t take long for mankind to start walking the path of evil by becoming prideful (self-centered) and worshiping the materialistic universe. Listen to the Apostle Paul explain what happened in mankind’s hearts right from the beginning: “Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened … And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things … Who changed the truth of God (love) into a lie, and worshipped and served created things more than the Creator” (Romans 1: 21-25). Wow, do you see? Instead of glorifying the Creator God (who is love) by following the path of good, mankind quickly became prideful, idolizing the materialistic universe, which led them down the path of evil, doing all kinds of sin (or love-less deeds) towards one another.
Listen carefully, there are only two “things” that make up EVERYTHING in the universe: Spirit or Dirt. God is spirit and atoms are dirt. Therefore, these are the ONLY two things you have a choice to worship (or love) in your life. Jesus said it like this: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, Ye CANNOT serve God (spirit) and mammon (dirt)” (Luke 16:13). Did you get that? Jesus said it is IMPOSSIBLE to serve (or worship) both spirit & dirt simultaneously! THIS is what God’s 2nd love commandment is about … you will either love God (the invisible spirit inside of every person on Earth) while hating dirt (the seeable, materialistic world); OR you will hate God (the invisible spirit inside of every person on Earth) while loving dirt (the seeable, materialistic world). Incredible!
So how does “money” fit into all of this? “Money” is the medium (or exchange) mankind invented to be able to acquire dirt (atoms) legally. But take note, money can ONLY buy materialistic things; it cannot buy spirit! Therefore “greed for money” is really just “greed for dirt”. Do you understand? And I’ve already told you that pride fueled by a “greed for dirt” — or greed for the money that buys it! — is how the first two love commandments are disobeyed, which then quickly begin knocking over the remaining sin (or love-less) dominos in a person’s life, leading to ALL kinds of sin (disobedience to God’s other 8 love commandments). This is why Paul wrote: “For the LOVE of MONEY (or the love of dirt) is the root of ALL evil” (I Timothy 6:10).
So here’s how it works; a self-seeking prideful person longs to obtain materialistic things (or money) because they know other people can SEE the dirt possessions they acquire (land, houses, vehicles, clothing, furniture, electronics, etc.) and this strokes their ego. It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel successful. It makes them feel like they are better and smarter than their fellow man. This then in turn makes them even MORE prideful!!! And thus continues an endless vicious cycle of sin (love-less thoughts, words, and deeds) done in their life against their fellow man’s spirit — which is actually doing it to God, for He is spirit! — coveting, lying, stealing, murdering, cheating, hating, blaspheming, envying, etc. THIS is the broad path of pride (most people follow) that leads their selfish love-less souls to hell!
But here’s the sad, cold, hard truth … dirt (or money) is actually WORTHLESS! Why? Because it cannot be obtained (or held onto) for eternity! In other words, dirt possessions are only a temporary thing, for we all must die sometime. So why would a person want to spend their lifetime on Earth chasing after worthless dirt (money & possessions), doing all kinds of sin (love-less deeds) towards their fellow man, only to lose their soul for ALL eternity in the end? PRIDE, folks … PRIDE!!! Don’t you see how foolish it is? And make no mistake about it; you CANNOT buy your way into heaven! You cannot say to God on Judgment Day, “Well, Lord, see that empire of dirt I amassed while I lived on Earth? Can I trade that in for eternal life?” That’s not how it works, folks! This is why Jesus said: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world (meaning the materialistic world), and lose his own soul (spirit)? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8: 36-37).
Listen, the ONLY thing God will honor (while reviewing your life on Judgment Day) is the LOVE you showed Him and your fellow man during your lifetime on Earth. And HOW do you DO that? By keeping the 10LC!!! And that begins with you humbling yourself (killing your pride) and uprooting the “love of dirt (or money)” out of your heart. Only then will you be free to love others unselfishly. This is why Jesus taught: “If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross DAILY, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Do you see? “Denying yourself” means to humble yourself by no longer living for the materialistic world. This is the first step toward God (or love), which will lead a soul down the narrow path of love towards eternal life.
Learning these things about God’s 2nd love commandment, you should now understand why God admonished the following in His Word: “Labour NOT to be rich (meaning materialistically wealthy): cease from thine own wisdom” (Proverbs 23:4). And Paul wrote: “You can be sure of this: The Kingdom of Christ and of God will NEVER belong to anyone who is impure or greedy, for a GREEDY person is really an IDOL WORSHIPPER — he loves and worships the good things of this life more than God. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible wrath of God is upon all those who DO them. Don’t even associate with such people” (Ephesians 5: 5-7). And: “Do you want to be TRULY rich? You already are if you are happy and GOOD. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came into the world, and we can’t carry away a single penny when we die. So we should be well satisfied without money if we have enough food and clothing. But people who long to be rich soon begin to DO all kinds of wrong things (disobedience to 10LC) to get money, things that hurt them and make them evil-minded and finally send them to HELL itself. For the LOVE of MONEY (or dirt) is the first step towards ALL kinds of sin” (I Timothy 6: 6-10). Amen.