Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Where is the Love? Part 6 of 6 by L. LaShawn Sithole



Our main verse comes from Matthew 22:37- 39. Jesus replied, “You must love The Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself." (The Living Bible)



Recap from: Where is the Love? Parts 1-5

HOW DO WE SHOW THAT WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF OUR HEARTS?

Ø WE TRUST HIM – Proverbs 3:5-6
Ø WE OBEY HIM – Deuteronomy 26:16-18
Ø WE SERVE HIM – Ephesians 6:6

HOW DO WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF OUR MINDS?

When we love God with all of our mind, we will:
Study…(2 Timothy 2:15)
Pray …(2 Chronicles 7:14 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17)  and
Praise Him (See the Book of Psalms for awesome examples of praise)

HOW DO WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR SOUL?

Since we are made in the image of God, Who is a Spirit, we are also all spiritual beings living in fleshly bodies. Our souls are what survive death which is why accepting Jesus as your own Savior matters so much. Your soul will live on, but where?

Simply put, according to Joyce Meyer, “We are a spirit. We have a soul and we live in our bodies.” So, we are to love God, who by His Breath gives life to our spirit. Without Him we cannot exist. We’d have no breath, no heartbeat, nor life without His Faithfulness.

Equally important to know is the fact that soul winning is very important to God. Look at James 5:20: “let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” How about that?

This is why our job as soul winners is so important.  The directions that our spirit follow here on earth determine our spiritual placement in eternity.

Since we are all here on earth to help one another, I shall borrow a line from my culture, “Let’s NOT be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good!”

That means we can’t be so wrapped up in church traditions and church politics that we can’t relate to the people who need Jesus. In fact, the outcast was not an outcast where Jesus was concerned. He met people where they were and we are to do the same. 

So, loving God with all our soul means loving Him completely, which will show up in how we live.

TODAY’S FOCUS:

HOW DO WE LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELVES?

First of all, Jesus warned us to JUDGE NOT in Matthew 7:1. 


Jesus also teaches us about criticizing others.  God never called us to judge one another for Only God and God Alone has the right to Judge.  Man sees the outer being, but God sees the heart.

A closer look of Matthew 7:3-4 will show that Jesus gives three things to consider: a reason, a ridicule and a rebuke.

THE REASON
Whatever measure we use to judge, that same measure will be used to judge us.  

In other words, we must be careful about what we say, because it has a way of coming back up again.


THE RIDICULE 
How can you criticize a speck in someone else’s eye, when there is a beam or even a plank in our own eye? What we point out in other people’s eye (symbolizing one’s life) is often small compared to what’s in our own eye (life).  Often times what we have in our own life is far bigger, far greater, and far worse than what we try to identify in someone else’s life.

Many times when we spotlight a shortcoming in someone else’s life, we are really trying to minimize and/or deflect the shortcomings in our own life.

THE REBUKE
Jesus called us hypocrites to point out someone’s shortcomings and failing to address and correct our own shortcomings. It’s like Jesus is saying, Work on yourself.  Get the beam out of your own eye and then you can see more clearly how to live in relationship to other people.

Now that we have discussed what we shouldn’t do with regards to being judgmental, let’s look at what we should do to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We must be able to forgive, to serve and to love.

WE MUST FORGIVE
In the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus says that we should forgive not seven, but seven times seventy.  That’s a whopping 490 times that we are to forgive the same person for the same offense.

Since it would be completely insane to use the time we have on earth keeping an accurate record of when this landmark is reached, get in the habit of making forgiveness a way of life.  

By doing this, we are able to experience God’s Peace even as people are treating us badly.

WE MUST SERVE
Now in John 12 we get a glimpse of what it looks like to serve.  Martha served as she prepared dinner for Jesus, Lazarus, Mary and herself.  Her service was required to make it happen.  It was also recorded, hence we know that it was recognized by God.

When we serve, we must be careful not to make the same mistake that she did in being so caught up in the work aspect that she missed an opportunity to sit down with The Savior. In essence, she really dismissed and discounted an opportunity to worship Him.  God must get glory whenever and wherever we serve. As we serve others, it should be fueled by our love for God.



In Luke 22:25-26 Jesus reminds us that a real leader has the experience and the qualities of a servant. 

The New Living Translation says it like this:  “Jesus told them, ‘In this world the kings and great men order their people around and yet they are called ‘friends of the people.  But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.
Finally, to our list of being able to forgive and to serve we must add the ability to love.

WE MUST LOVE
1 John 4:20-21 asks us how can we say that we love God whom we’ve never seen and not love our brother or sister that we see every day? Wow!
The NLT says it this way, “If someone says, ‘ I love God but hates another Christian, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? Then verse 21 says, “And God Himself has commanded that we must love not only Him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.

Simply put, we are commanded to LOVE!  John 13:34-35 identifies us stating, “So now I am giving you a new commandment:  Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

It’s easy to love people who love you back. Anyone can do that, which may be why Jesus told us:  

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate." (Luke 6:35-36)
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I pray that this blessed you as much as it did for me to do it. Thank you so very much for Reading and Sharing the Love! May God Bless You Most Abundantly!!!~~~

Photo Credits: Google Images, 
Mike Waters of Joyful 'toons,
and www.joe-ks.com

Please note that I combined the last two installments to complete the series with this entry. I appreciate you!
Thank you so very much for Reading and Sharing the Love!

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