James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Loving like Jesus

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.


“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Luke 6:27-36 The Message


It's Christmas time, and as we reflect on the birth of Christ, we see in this scripture quoted above just why we need Jesus to help us walk out our earthly existence. God created us to love, and His grace alone gives us the ability to love God with all our soul, mind and strength and others as ourselves.  When we daily spend time in the Word and the Lord's presence, we get continually filled with the Holy Spirit; which then causes us to overflow with God's love and this capacity to love overflows to others.

These words are one of the many hard sayings of Jesus Christ that we find in the Word of God.  Jesus is teaching us how to love difficult people.  I quoted from The Message version of the Bible because I love the way it's explained to us.  It's pretty straight forward what we are to do, but is it possible to love this way?  I believe it is, one because God is not a liar,  Jesus would have never given us these instructions if it wasn't possible.  We can love this way, but only with the help of the one God sent.

 

We can see God gives us supernatural abilities to love when you look at the role of a parent.  I still remember the amazing experience of love that came over me each time I held my first born child.  A special ability to love was in my heart that I didn't even know existed. It was like an unconditional sort of love, and it seemed to overflow for this child.  Even with no sleep and the stress of being a new Mom, I couldn't wait to hold my baby in my arms each day.  There was this outpouring of love that would flow from my heart naturally.

Now, of course, I realize that not everyone feels this way immediately towards their child and this can be sad for both parent and child.  An unhealed brokenness or separation perhaps can cause this.  A person themselves may need healing and this is causing a disconnect of some sort.  I do believe God's design for humans is for such love connections, especially with Mothers.

When I was pregnant with my twins, I wondered how could I ever love another child this way, especially two of them.  Where would it come from?  Could I do it?  I quickly learned I could as I held those precious babies, that it was possible as this overwhelming love for them poured from my heart as well.

Now if I'm honest, as my children grew that love bond decreased some and as my own brokenness was exposed, it hasn't always been easy being a Mom or to love my kids unconditionally all the time.  There's been many a day when the love didn't flow quite so unconditionally, especially with some of the craziness of having twins, and also having three kids with developmental issues.  The truth is however, that it has been the love of God which has helped me to be the Mom they needed me to be. Those days when I feel like I can't handle it anymore, I always find the strength to return to God's presence, take a deep breath in and keep on going.

God gives us the relationships we have and we were placed on this earth to parent one another for Him. Even if you have never had children in the natural world you are still called to parent in the supernatural realm. Isn't that a wonderful thought? We are called to love each other and have been given the privilege to care for mankind, "God's kids".  We have it in us to love people the way God does.  I know it may seem impossible sometimes because let's face it some people are just so difficult to love!  It is possible, but only with the Holy Spirit residing in us can we do it.

I remember years back when I worked as a pastor of a street ministry. I was often called to minister to people who were very unclean, many in society would consider these people unlovable.  Their clothes were sometimes very dirty, covered in who knows what, and they didn't smell very good.  Sometimes they weren't the nicest people either to deal with because the world had not been their friend.

One day a drug addict who had been living on the street came to see me and God told me to give this man a hug when I was finished speaking to him.  I really didn't want to but I did it anyway.  God gave me the ability to really hug him with all my heart. This broken man with tears in his eyes said, "Do you realize you are the first person who has hugged me in over ten years."  Can you imagine?  God wanted this dear soul to know he was loved and used me to do it.  I would have never done it had the Holy Spirit not prompted me and given me the power to bless him this way.

From that day on, I made a habit to offer a hug, a touch on the hand, and eye contact with everyone I would meet.  I came to realize many on the streets felt completely invisible and had not felt a human connection for so long.  God was showing me how to parent and love like Jesus, those He sent to me.

When we trust God, surrender and allow Him to pour His love into us we can love like Jesus.  Sometimes It's not easy, but God always graces us with everything we need to love as He commands us to.  We have to realize that God himself has placed that power on the inside of us. The minute we asked Jesus into our hearts our spirits were born again.



The Bible says that our old self was crucified with Christ and we no longer live but Christ lives in us. (Galatians 2:20)  The same power that rose Jesus from the dead now lives in us, therefore we have the ability to love like God and be His hands and feet on this earth.  It may not be easy but with God's help, we can tap into that power every moment of every day when we need it and we can love even the unlovable.  Hallelujah - that's reason to shout!

May you come to the fountain and drink of God's love today and may God's love fill you to overflowing, and may you share it with everyone you meet along the way.  Be BLESSED my fellow narrow gate travellers.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for filling us with your Holy Spirit.  Lord give us divine appointments today.  Put people in our direct path that you want us to parent on your behalf.  Fill us with a fresh anointing, with your glory Lord. May you be glorified in all we do today.   Amen!

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.  Romans 5:5