Saturday, July 25, 2015

How Do I Love?

It is so easy to seek out fleshly efforts to "please" God and also easy to make legalistic efforts to "please" God, but what has He asked from us? He wants us to love others. Why do we prefer works over love? Why do we prefer the law over grace? Why do we always seem to be looking for another way to salvation than through the shed blood of Christ?

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 
Galatians 5:14

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

A Pharisees asked Jesus 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:35-40

So now we know that regardless of how religious we may be with our "good" works, if we don't have love for one another we have deceived ourselves.
We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:19-21

But how do we do it? How do we love others? Well we know that love is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. God is love. It is not our love that we are seeking to walk in but Christ's love.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
So, how do we get the fruit of the Spirit in our lives? I think we have to: seek God and draw near to Him. We need to wash our minds in the word of God, think on God's word, make our thoughts line up with His thoughts, meditate on His word, be kind to one another, deny our flesh, do good works etc., but all the while seeking His direction that we be with Him and in Him and not our own way. We need to be one with Him in the Spirit. We may want to do one good work when our heavenly Father may have a completely different good work for us to do. His good work may not seem as glamorous and as fruitful and productive as the "good work" we chose for ourselves. We need to surrender our all to Christ and trust Him and follow Him wherever he leads. Today let us seek to truly love one another in Christ as He has loved us. Let us draw near to Him.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Take His Hand

I think it's about walking out our faith in fear and trembling, and also letting go and trusting God.  (Philippians 2:12) Though they don't seem to go together, I think they do. Fear, because there is nothing else to fear but God. Everything is under His power and control. To fear something other than God is to exalt that thing or person above God. The beginning of wisdom is to fear God. (Proverbs 9:12)

We tremble because if we are not alert and we give into temptation or fall into the snares of the enemy then we are not walking with Christ and we may not even know it. (Jude 1:24; Psalm 23) We tremble because we see our brother or sister fall and we know how easily we could be lifted up in pride and do the same or worse ourselves. If we don't know this than pride has already taken more than a foothold in our lives. We need to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6-7) and seek Him and His will for our lives. We need to lay down our will and do God's will.  If we are not going to do the will of our Father then we need to make sure we are not standing in the way of His dealing with others and correcting His children. God will get to us and He will deal with us, but let us not stand in the way of our Father's work. It will not go well for us if we do.

We may be walking in a way that seems right to us rather than walking with Christ. (Proverbs 14:12) Some people live their whole lives walking in a way that seems good and is good by earthly standards, yet they are going their own way. Let us seek God in all our ways, even (and perhaps especially) in the ways that seem right to us.

We must seek God with our whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13) We must draw near to Him and get to know Him so that in that day when we stand before Him we will not ashamed. (John 2:28) Let us trust God to guide us in the way we should go and not lean on our own understanding. It is God who will bring us through all of this and it is God who will bring us home; but like a child we must stay close and hold His hand. If we wonder off we will get into all sorts of trouble and we will certainly answer to our Heavenly Father. He disciplines those He loves and though we do not like it He disciplines us for our own Good. If He allows us to wonder off perhaps we are not His? Perhaps He doesn't know us? Let us today seek to know God. Let us walk with Jesus and hold His hand.