On the eve of His betrayal, Jesus gives this command to His disciples, "Remain in my love" (John 15:9). He then explains exactly how to do that. In order to remain in his love, we must obey his commandments (John 15:10). What are his commandments?
It is at this point that individuals within the Church (or individuals who claim be within the Church) grab their list. For the sake of convenience, they have thoughtfully run enough copies of that list for everyone else. It is a long list. A very long list. Often this list is merely a list of "do's and don'ts with the do's outnumbering the don'ts at least three to one.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest law was, he got straight to the point making it so simple that even a child could understand it. He said it was to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. He then states the second greatest commandment which is, in fact, the result of obeying the first commandment. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
If we are honest with ourselves, I think we struggle with that second commandment more often than we would like to admit. We may want to be like the Good Samaritan but find ourselves behaving more like the Priest or the Levite. What happened? We didn't remain in Christ.
When we remain in Christ, we become Christ-centered rather than self-centered. We view people through God's eyes rather than our own. We might still feel upset or start to cross to the other side of the road when we see someone in need but since we are walking with Jesus, we will become much more aware of when He stops and we in turn will stop as well. When we're stopped in the road next to Jesus, suddenly everything else, except what He is focused on, becomes insignificant. We simply want to be where He is and remain in His love.
To say we love God is not necessarily the same as loving God. We must put our words into action and that is what we do every time we demonstrate His love to those around us. The only way we can genuinely demonstrate His love is by remaining in His presence.