Sunday, February 14, 2016
What Will We Do With God's Love?
John 13:35 "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? As you go about your day, show some people some love. But what about those days when you are worried about paying your own bills, or stressed out over something that happened with a friend or family member, or you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with an illness? Then, it is harder to keep our eyes on God and follow His lead. We're like Peter when he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. He was fine until he started looking around him, then he started sinking. It's the same in our lives. When everything is going great, we may even forget God is there.
I'm doing this Bible study, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst. This verse stopped me in my tracks and each time throughout the study when it talked about God's love, I had to pause and think about it. If we love one another, everyone will know that we are His disciple. Have you ever thought about why that is? Is there love around you? In high school when you don't quite fit in, do you feel love? Or do you feel like you don't matter, you aren't part of the in-crowd, nobody listens to what you have to say? When you come into contact with others, do you make a point of making people feel welcome, feel loved, or do you just shrug your shoulders and say oh well, I've been there, why should I step out of my comfort zone to be a friend? This study put a pang in my heart. I've experienced these things. It's made me more aware of the people around me. Shouldn't I use what God has given me and use it to share His love?
Many people feel unloved, unwanted, discouraged, let down, disheartened, have a fear of being unwanted or unaccepted. But you know what? That's not God's way. God is love. His commandments: Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied:‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” As Jesus' disciples, we must show love. There shouldn't be people feeling this way. We should be showing love toward one another that everyone feels accepted, wanted, loved, like they fit in. No one person is better than another. We should all pitch in and help each other. When you see one fall, reach down and help. Don't trample them while they're down. Be there for them, reach out in love, don't envy what someone else has. Be content with what you have, with who you are, continually striving to run the race God has set before you.
1 John 4:11-12 "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." If we are known to be disciples of Christ by our love, but so many people feel this level of despair, we are failing. I'm failing. I can use my insecurities, inadequacies, and dorkiness to reach out to others, but when the "others" don't react in the right way, it causes me to shut down and go back in my shell. I need to realize it's all about God, not my personal feelings. I love because He loved, not for what I'll get out of it, whether it's a friend, a conversation, or making someone else feel better. I show them God's love and He takes care of the rest. When God calls us to do something, we should step out in faith and do what He says. God will reward our faithfulness. What the other person does is on them. You can't withhold doing what God's said because you set up scenarios of what the other person might do. You are responsible for you and doing what God has told you to do. You can't worry or control what the other person does.
We are known whose we are by our love for one another. If love directed everything we said and did, there would be no problem with gossiping, or saying hurtful things. Do you know what love does? Love binds us together. Love makes us stronger. God's love changes things, changes us, and changes those around us. With God's love we encourage each other, lift each other up, pray for each other. We wouldn't be putting each other down, or talking about someone behind their backs. We would be ruled by God's love in our hearts. I want to be saturated with God's authentic love--that would transform me and everyone around me. If we love with God's love, it makes everything better.
I want to put this into practice and see how far my sphere of influence reaches. Which isn't my sphere, but God's sphere. With God's love directing our paths, we will reach the ones who need to feel love, those that have been hurt, we will be sensitive to their needs because with God's love in us His Spirit knows what they need and can work through us to touch them.
God lays people on my heart to pray for and I'm seeking Him to know how to pray for them. Our pastor has opened up my eyes during praise and worship at church. I'm able to spend time during the week and in church services, with my eyes and heart on God, worshipping Him and praying and seeking. I have felt such a difference in my life. The more you read the Bible, the more you want to. The more you pray, the more you want to. When you are filled with God's truth, you are looking to Him and not at what is going on around you. You are listening to His words, His commands, not what others have to say. Our trust, hope, and faith are in Him. Like Peter stepping out of the boat, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus he walked on water. But as soon as he started looking around, he sank. When we keep our eyes on God loving other people is easy. We aren't worried or stressed over what's happening in our lives. Our focus is on Him and what He's doing. And that gives Him reign to work through us.
How will you step out and show God's love to others?