Love is absolutely the greatest commandment of the law. In Matthew 22:36-38, a disciple asked Jesus which was the greatest command, and Jesus replied “Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”. Second to this is to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
Now, we have all sorts of Christians or believers out there that will ride one extreme or another. Some try to practice love in a way that does not want to offend people so they allow sin to be overlooked. Then you have the other believer who is a bible-thumper and really comes off as more hateful than loving.
In Ephesians 4:15, believers we are told to “Instead speaking the truth in love , we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ”. Our goal is to imitate the character of Christ that was represented all through the new testament. He never condemned people, and he definitely never condoned sin.
We never have the right to be so hyper critical of anyone because we are all born into sin, however, it is our goal to walk in righteousness by the grace of God. It is important for us to find a graceful way of encouraging people to turn from sin and to walk in God’s redemption. I believe the best thing we can do is give them scripture to read and allow God to speak through it to change the sinners heart.
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. -John 3:3
Simply put, we once lived a life of sin, negligence and disobeyed God. Then comes that glorious day when we are at the end of our rope so we cry out to God and accept Christ as our Savior. With this privilege does come responsibility to make choices that are pleasing unto the Lord. If we are born-again then we are hypothetically born into this world a second time and given another shot in doing things the right (God’s) way. Let’s not take advantage of his grace but try to glorify him in all that we do. He’s worth it!
As I sit here at the salon and allow the hairstylist to get my long locks back into a healthy and more desirable state, it reminds me of my heavenly father and his process for us.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
As she cuts away the dead, the broken, the over-processed hair, so the Lord does with our character, our behaviors and our unbecoming habits. If it is not anything that reflects goodness or Christ, he trims it away. Most of the time he slowly trims away and few times it’s done in an instance, like the closing of a door. He says “I don’t think so”, and your situation comes to a dead stop.
The hair that is healthy remains and only becomes healthier by up keep. In the same sense, read the Word, seek fellowship with the brethren, pray fervently and love Jesus with all your heart, let your life be a healthy reflection of Christ and bare much fruit.
Regrets, shame, fear, heart break, discouragements, addictions, you name it and we all have been there. Can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t think straight because of the terrible things we’ve been through. It does not matter what someone may portray on the outside, we all have something going on inside. We wear masks out in public and even at home that say “I’m fine”, “I’m happy”, and “I’m strong” but the truth is we are all so broken. We can fake the funk rather easily. There’s a saying that “the eye is the window of the soul”, and there is a bible verse that expresses that very same idea.
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light but when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness.”- Matthew 6:22-23
Have you ever looked in the mirror and not recognize yourself? I mean you know it’s you but you just look so worn down, so exhausted, and so tired of fighting. You look into your eyes and you see a heaviness, your eyes are reflecting what is going on in your heart. Now it is one thing to just being plain ole’ tired but it’s another to be completely broken. This brokenness can be short term or long term, seasonal or lifelong. Whatever it is going on in your life and however long it has been, it can be overcome. We were not created to have a life of dread and continual sorrow, but created to have a life of abundance.
“The thief (the devil) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; but I (the Lord your God) came to give you life to enjoy and in abundance.”- Matthew 10:10
Let’s break this down. The devil and all his schemes and evil plans are to ultimately destroy us, to kill us, to break us down. But the Lord our God has great plans for our lives and wants us to live a glory filled life and full of joy.
The meaning of Enjoy (En: within/ joy: gladness)
Listen, not every day will you be happy but in your heart there will be gladness. Why is there gladness? Because you have God’s son Jesus Christ living inside of you, and with that you are promised eternal life in heaven! The incentive to living in Heaven is perfection; there is no sorrow, hurt, pain, illness, or darkness. If someone came up to you today and said “Would you like to live in a perfect place? A place where you will only experience great happiness and joy? A place where there is nothing but mansions to live in and streets of gold? A place where people are kind and genuine? A place that has a perfect father to care for you and love you?” I don’t know about you but I would jump at the opportunity.
Folks it’s real. It really exists and so does God our Father in heaven. Let’s go to this place! Let’s overcome the devil and his attempts of trying to destroy us and let us live the abundant life that God has set before us!
“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord our God, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; to give you hope and a future (glorious plans). “-Jeremiah 29:11
I seem to be using this reference a lot lately when talking to people, so I figured I might as well write on it also. Teacher Joyce Meyer talks about emotions and feelings frequently and how you can not trust them. Our feelings are so easily swayed, they are tossed to-and-fro, who can trust them?
When I wake up in the morning, there are times I feel angry, and the truth is I don’t even know why. I walk around the house super irritable and am like a fire breathing dragon if someone dares to talk to me. After about an hour and two cups of coffee I can tolerate people and life. This is just a small example of moods, feelings, or emotions. We allow them to get so erratic.
This past year I asked God to really help me to be in tune with my negative behavior. Anything that sets itself up against the Word of God needs to be cast down.
” We destroy arguments and every lofty thought raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
So what exactly does this mean? If your thoughts and your behavior are not pure in nature and or encouraging we need to stop in our tracks, say aloud “nope I’m not going there” and start praising God instead. The easiest way to prevent negative thoughts is to speak great things into existence. Just as the Lord God spoke this whole world into existence, we too have that same authority. So now when I wake up and my head is foggy and I feel irritable I say “It is going to be a wonderful day!” “Great things are in store for me!” “Lord this is the day that you have made, I will rejoice and be glad!” Listen, when you start speaking these positive things into existence and you actually hear yourself saying it aloud, you start believing it! You are tricking your own feelings! Just try it. It is impossible to have a bad attitude and praise God at the same time. Continual praise brings peace and joy. I leave you with this verse that is great instruction and easy to interpret;
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praise worthy- think about these things.” Philippians 4:8