The greatest commandments of God to the Israelites were summarized in two sentences, as quoted by the Lord Jesus: "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:30 -31).
The commandment of God for us who profess to be Christians, as we can read in this passage is: "believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment" (1 John 3:23). These two parts of a single commandment are inextricable: If we simply just say that we believe in Jesus Christ, and avoid any involvement with our brothers in faith, we are disobeying His command.
"Believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ" encompasses everything He is and said (1 John 1:3). Such faith, by the grace of God, brings us eternal life which is communion with God, and He dwells in us through the Holy Spirit (John 14:10, 17, 23; 17:21, Romans 8:9,14,16). The Holy Spirit is given to all believers, "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us is the evidence that we are children of God, and it is the Holy Spirit that gives reality to the love of God in our hearts.
The Lord Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15) and "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12). This love is not mere emotion and feeling, and is not expressed only by the tongue, in words. Our tongue easily runs ahead of our feet, but the authentic Christian love is not manifested with the tongue. It sincerely seeks to provide support and aid. Kind words can comfort and cheer, but cordial expressions must be accompanied by actions of the heart so that love is by works and in truth, authentic. In other words, love is manifested by what we do for our brothers: it is not just the love of a hug, or to declare that we have love, but it is expressed by a real interest in their welfare.
If we truly are children of God, we will manifest this love. It is a love with self-sacrifice. It may not be necessary to give our lives, but it certainly is necessary to give of our possessions, time, etc. Christianity is a relationship of love, sincere love towards all brothers in Christ. This love is denied when, for example, we strive to denigrate the reputation of another servant of the Lord, even spreading nasty rumors about him secretly "where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there" (James 3:16).
The letter of James exposes this subject in more detail and gives examples: "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" (James 2:15 -16). It is what can happen when a brother in need approaches us and you just say "I'm going to pray for you, beloved brother." It will be a tragedy when many believers arrive to the presence of Christ after they received a major provision of the goods of this world, if they have not made use of them for the benefit of their brothers in need.
If our lives manifest obedience to this commandment, we have the guarantee that we are of the truth when we approach God in prayer. In addition, just as it is possible for us to be ashamed at the coming of Christ if we spent uselessly what was given to us, we will have confidence when we come before Him if we have used our resources wisely for the benefit of His Kingdom. God gives us confidence in our hearts that we are acting according to His will doing what He wants.
Paul had this assurance when he wrote "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8). God's omniscience is linked to His love and sympathy. God knows all the secrets of our hearts. Every son of God can have that assurance, but suppose we do not have it, because we consciously believe that we are not doing all of that we should be doing. Does this mean that we have lost our salvation, or even that we never had it?
It is certain that we cannot lose our salvation once saved. If our heart or conscience condemns us, God is greater than our hearts, bigger than our lack of security. He will still hear our prayer, wonderful God that He is, if we fail Him, he will not fail us. We can depend on him. Even when we are not sure, we can just simply keep on going to Him. On the other hand, if our heart (conscience) does not condemn us, we have confidence in our communion (not pretending to be exempt from sin) with God, and we approach Him confidently in prayer (Hebrews 4:16). It is wonderful to have confidence when we pray.
The practice of Christian love gives us confidence to pray, because we can expect God to hear us and answer our prayers when our life pleases Him. There are no limits to the requests made in prayer when there is full communion with God, which means complete subjection of our will to that of God our Father (Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; John 14:12; 16:23). We will receive the answer to our prayers regularly because:
We keep his commandments, and
We do what is pleasing to Him.
The answer will not always come in the way we hope for, but it will be the best for us.
When the early Church began to be persecuted, and the Apostles were forbidden to preach in the name of Jesus, they told the brethren what was happening; then they gathered together and proceeded to pray to God.
They began their prayer saying "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them." (Acts 4:24). Our heavenly Father is the Almighty God, creator of all and Lord of the universe, He is who ordains. The disciples did not plead for exemption of persecution, but that God would allow them to spread His Word with all boldness. God attended to their request, there was persecution and, as a result, the Gospel quickly spread everywhere.
So, we see how the true believer in Jesus Christ, loving his brethren, can make a major contribution to the work of God in communion with them.
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1 John chapter 3, verses 18 to 24