Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Living His Mission

"This is my commandment:  Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command."  John 15:12-14 (NLT) 

When my daughter was in junior high school, she encountered a group of girls who were less than kind to her.  Although these girls had been together for several years in a small Christian school, when puberty hit, suddenly these young ladies began comparing themselves to one another and found the need to find someone to elevate themselves over.  Unfortunately it was my child they chose.   She handled it fairly well until one of her closest friends joined with the bullies.  That was simply more than she could handle.  She felt totally isolated and her self esteem fell to the point that her comment to me was, "I'd rather die than go to school."  

Friends have great power in our lives.  Who we choose to align ourselves with will influence our thoughts, our choices and how we see ourselves and others.  That is why it is so important to choose wisely.  So many lives have tumbled out of control by "getting in with the wrong crowd."  Jesus laid down His life for us.  His command to us is that we love each other the way He loved us.  As He reached out to us with the love of the Father, so we are to reach out to others.  He says we are His "friends" if we do what He commands.  In other words, He wishes for us to align ourselves with His purpose, His mission to bring salvation to the world.  He wishes for us to spend our lives sharing His love and honoring the Lord.  The greatest friend we can be to someone else is by sharing the gospel message and by living our lives for Him rather than blending in with the depravity of this world.  In order accomplish this, we must be willing to allow Him to change us from the innermost parts of ourselves, to call out sin when we see it in ourselves and others, and to speak truth as it is revealed in God's Word.  This will definitely not make us popular with the world but if others are able to see Jesus in us and make a decision to follow Him, then that is the greatest gift we can give.  

My daughter's heart was troubled that she was not part of the "popular" circle.  We may experience the same feelings when we are scorned for seeking to live our lives for Jesus.  We live in a time in this country when more and more people are moving away from churches and are developing their own ideas of spirituality and what they want to have faith in.  False religions are becoming more prevalent and the idea that "all paths lead to Heaven" is becoming more acceptable.  Scripture tells us that the only way to the Father is through His Son.  That is the ultimate truth.  We are to be the messengers that boldly carry that message in a time when it is not popular.  This is one way that we "lay down our lives" for our friends.  We will be laughed at.  We will be argued with.  Many will call us crazy and tell us that we are believing in fairy tales.  However, we must not lose heart.  Too much is at stake if we give up.  

I know that what I have spoken about today is difficult.  None of us want for others to turn their backs on us or slam doors in our faces.  Sometimes we tend to think that loving others means that we stay quiet about what we know is sin.  Jesus did not do that.  He loved, but He was truthful.  When we consider though that by not speaking truth we are aiding and abetting sinful choices, then we know that we are not truly being loving at all.  The greatest love is the love of God and it is honest and convicting and life changing.  I pray that we all examine our hearts, that we repent of the sin in our own lives and ask the Lord to help us fulfill His desire for us to carry out the mission He has laid before us,  With sincerity of heart, God bless. 

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