Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Authentic Love

     Jesus teaches us what real love is like when He laid down His life for us. And in 1 John 3: 16-18, we are told  "And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and see his brothers in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
    It's not to say here that material possessions are a bad thing and we should stay away from having anything other than what we need. If that was the case, many followers of Christ, including myself would be in danger. I believe there's a saying that speaks of moderation and in this text, we could always live more simply, yet what I see this getting at is the fact that we have been blessed with so much that we forget when a brother or sister is in need, we should be willing to show God's love in action and help their need. It's always been a balance to know when we are helping them too much and enabling them or whether we are meeting a need and preparing them to meet future needs. I often think to myself this is not for me to judge but Jesus taught the disciples how to fish for men. He didn't hand them the men and say here, this is your catch. Instead they listened and followed Jesus instructions to continue casting their nets and pulling in more followers.
     We have this opportunity by serving others in Jesus' name. He tells us to care for the least of these and as we meet material needs, the kingdom has seeds being planted and the next one who comes along to water the seed may produce the crop. Jesus I believe honors our work for Him. It's never in vain. We give out of love and expect nothing in return and there's more joy in doing so than expecting a response. That's the kind of sacrificial love I believe Jesus is calling us to. The more we bless others out of the abundance we have, the more seeds are planted and the example of Christ is being demonstrate. I must admit I do struggle with not saying anything at all. I feel we offer of gift in Jesus' name and offer our words of encouragement and prayer.
     Real love has nothing to do whatsoever with our feelings. It's a result of our love for Jesus and the love He sacrificially gave to us that we might have eternal life that we respond and love in action toward others. It's how we act that reveals His presence. How well are we doing with this real love? We pray that together we can achieve actions that result in self denial and not self edification. Unto Jesus we give all glory, honor and praise. May our lives be a reflection of His love.

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