Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Love God. Love People.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Jesus summed up the entire list of ten commandments and all the rules and regulations of the law into just one. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." (Luke 10:27)

Love God. Love people.

That is so simple, and I could end this entire post here because that effectively answers the question I placed in the title, "What would Jesus do?" If we love God, we won't worship idols. If we love people, we won't covet, or steal, or murder.

What would Jesus do? Jesus would love. That's what He would do.

In our everyday lives, there will always be situations and people thrust upon us that seem to be unlovable: passing acquaintances, co-workers, even family members. Jesus Himself stated, "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." (Mark 6:4-6) Sometimes family can be the hardest to love.

Again, I turn to the Word for the answer. What does it say in 1 Corinthians 13?
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. (3) If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (verses 1-3, NLT)
You can have the right actions, you can give money to feed the poor, you can help your neighbor move, you can spend time with the elderly, but if your motives are wrong, you have gained NOTHING. We should not do things solely out of obligation or because it is expected of us. We should do them because we love that person and in the end that person should know that they are loved.

Ask yourself this, when you completed the task what did the other person think of you? Did they leave knowing Christ loves them and you love them?

Love is not a feeling. We do not have to "feel" loving towards someone beforehand. Instead, love is an action. We give love through what we do. And when we act out of godly love, we will "shine our light before men" and we will "glorify God". (Matthew 5:16, above)

But often demonstrating God's love requires a step of faith on our part. Faith is not limited only to our needs and wants: a new job, better lodging, or physical healing. Faith is used when we step out to do things we can't do under our own power - like loving someone we have a really hard time loving.

What does the Bible say is the end result of true faith?
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
I like the previous verse as well. I especially like these verses in the New Living Translation.

Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. (12) Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (verses 11-12, NLT)
Wow. Loving others by faith and seeing the result!

Faith is compared in the Bible to a seed. (Matthew 13:31) And seeds planted in fertile soil, tended and watered, will grow and produce great fruit. (John 15:1-2) Fruit we can see. We may not have known what was happening underneath the soil while our faith was growing, but when its all over we will see the fruit of our efforts. God always answers faith. (Hebrews 11:6)

Read verses 4-7 in 1 Corinthians 13 and as you read, ask yourself, "Where am I falling short in loving like Christ? Am I kind? Am I rude? Am I irritable?" And if you are, ask for forgiveness and then step out by faith to love someone in your life who is particularly unloveable.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16)

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
(Matthew 7:20)
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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