Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thought-filled Thursdays

Well, another Thursday has arrived and I have been "chewing" on the subject God brought to my attention for this week's post.  In fact, I came across today's focus last Thursday after I had posted.  I sat down at the kitchen table to eat breakfast, opened my devotional and began reading...  Bam!  Hit with another 2x4!

The Key to God's Redemptive Mission
  "May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.  May they also be One in Us, so the world may believe You and Me."  John 17:21

God often speaks of human relationships as a part of His mission to redeem a lost world (John 13:20; Matt 25:40).  One reason He gives for a husband and wife to live in unity is so they can produce a "godly seed,"  that is, children who love and obey God, who can be used in God's mission to bring redemption to a lost world (Malachi 2:14-15).  Similarly, the church is the body of Christ.  A church cannot be on mission with the Father in our world if its members are waging war with one another (I Corinthians 12:12).  There is a crucial connection between our relationships with others and the salvation of those around us.

We might assume that during Jesus' prayer before His crucifixion, He would have prayed that His disciples would have courage, or would remain faithful, or would remember what they had been taught.  Yet He asked that His followers would remain united in their love for one anotherJesus understood that it is spiritually impossible to love God but not love others. 

A test of your love for God is to examine your love for others.  Our tendency is to say, "Heavenly Father, the problem is not between You and me.  I love You with all my heart.  I just don't love my brother."  And God says, "That is an impossibility.  You cannot love Me without loving the ones for whom My Son died"  (John 13:34-35).  Your life will not convince those around you of the reality of Jesus if you cannot live in unity with your fellow Christians.

What?  Wait.  But...  Relationships.  Ugh.  sigh.

How many times have I walked this out in my own life?  How often have I said (basically) those words?  

So, was this a BAM moment for you too?  Perhaps not, but it certainly is an area where I need to Learn and Grow and Let go.  

What do you mean I can't love God if I don't "love" my brother or sister?  There are some people in our lives that we just don't click with, that our ideals or philosophies don't mesh with each other and there is nothing but friction between us, or maybe we just plain don't like each other (much less love one another).  

I have said many times, "I love you, Lord. I just can't deal with this person anymore or that person is so opposite of me that I can't relate to them.  It's better that I just walk away."  Ouch.

Honestly, I do find it easier to "love" non-believers and I get really tired of church "politics"...  And, sometimes I feel non-believers or non-church people care about others more than those who do attend church regularly.  In fact, this happened to our family a couple of years ago.  Blaine and I have not attended church since that time.  But, that still doesn't justify my choices, my attitudes, my non-loving attitude toward some believers...

Humans.  We are so fickle.  (Well, not all of us.  I do know some wonderful followers of Jesus that don't have the issues I do.)  But, in my case, I have had alot of issues over the years.

If I truly love the Lord, I shall take this lesson and learn from it.  I have repented of my sinfulness and asked God to help me Learn and Grow.  While it will always be difficult dealing with other people, it's my attitude that needs to be adjusted.  I need to be second and put God in FIRST PLACE!  My personal judgements and criticism of what others do (or don't do) affects my ability to love others ~ when it's really about who God is and what He is at work doing in this life and NOT about me and how I feel about things.  I need to be in search of God in all things, not focusing on connecting with other people or "making friends" or what I can do for God ~ but determining what His business plans are for me and everything else will fall into place.

And, the more I focus on God (putting Him first), the more intentional I shall be in loving others and truly loving God.  It's what He wants.  It's who I want to be.

Check out this new movement:  I AM SECOND

I'd love you for you to share your thoughts too.  Abundant blessings on your week and I look forward to being back next Thursday to share whatever God places on my heart. 

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie