The year of 2018 was filled with so many lessons for me. But there is one that stands out far and above all. That is the lesson of love.
As a Believer in Christ, have you ever found it hard to relate to people? I don’t just mean the unsaved. I mean saved people as well? For years of my faith walk with God, it just seemed like relating to people was the hardest thing for me to do.
I could not figure it out. One minute, I just knew that I was relating to people the way God intended. Then, other times, I was the ultimate failure at it. “God, what could I possibly be doing wrong?” It wasn’t until last year that I realized what I was doing wrong.
You cannot relate to something you don’t first love.
I could not relate to people because I had not first loved people. In fact, I know that I had spent most of my time judging other people. I was an absolute piece of work I tell you. And you know what’s crazy? The very thing I wanted so bad to do, I could not do. I allowed a lot of things to get in the way. Self-righteousness. Pride. False humility. Everything…….but…….love.
Love is spoken of throughout the whole entire Bible. From beginning to end, love is the driving force of all that God has done pertaining to everything that He has created. That includes you and me.
Everybody seems to have their own opinion of what love is supposed to look like. I know I did. But, if we know anything about opinions, we know that opinions are not our reality. God, however, gives us the truth about love. The picture that He created. So, what is the true picture of love?
God is love.
There is none else I know that as holy and sovereign as He is, would put all of Himself in mortal flesh, and come to the earth to save sinners. People who are wicked and have no real desire to know Him. Yet, it was His love for us that compelled Him to do so. He desires for us to know Him and be known by Him.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. ~ 1 John 4:16
Love God with all your heart.
Not only does God want us to know Him, He wants us to love Him. God desires to have daily communion, fellowship, and a relationship with us. He gave us every part of Him so that He could have every part of you and me. God didn’t give us less than His best. He gave us His best. This is the exact thing that He expects from us.
Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Matthew 22:37-39
Love your neighbor as yourself.
This is where the challenge came in for me. Last year, however, God really showed me that to love my neighbor as myself is to really love Him. How can I say that I love God without loving the very people He created? In His image. It would be contrary to everything God is. He is love. Remember?
It is funny the simple things God has commanded, we complicate. Love is as simple as obeying God. To obey God is to love God. God deserves our love. Other people deserve our love too. That includes even our enemies.
Before I accepted Christ into my life, I was an enemy to God. It was His love that won me over into His kingdom. Though loving in the capacity that God commands has been of a great challenge, I decided that I want to love like He loves. That has meant that I have had to do a few things:
- I had to lay aside everything that hinders me from loving as God desires.
- I had to refrain from passing judgment on anyone who is in the world, for I too was once a person of the world.
- I had to truly examine and humble myself.
Guess what? I still have to do all of these things. I am determined that it will be love that wins.
Love is the key.
While we are on the subject of love, can I share with you a way that we can all collectively come together to love God and our neighbor?
As a blogger for Compassion, my mission is to raise awareness for the needs of children who are in poverty all over the world. For the month of April, however, Compassion is holding a fundraiser to help intervene and prevent malaria (a disease caused by a parasite that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito) from wreaking havoc on the lives of the children and their caregivers in the Geita region of Tanzania.
It is reported that malaria kills a child every thirty seconds. In the year 2010 alone, there were 655,000 estimated deaths. The people of Compassion, since then, have been doing everything in their power to make sure that that number has not continued to grow. And I want to make sure that this does not have to be the report any longer. With that being said, we are asking you to come along and partner with us to make sure that it will not.
How can you help? It is simple. Donate to Compassion in the amount of $18. That is all that they are asking for from you. What this donation does is to provide an insecticide-treated bed net for prevention of malaria as well as medical support when needed.
Not only will your donation provide a net of safety and medical support, but it will also provide necessary training for the families in Tanzania that will teach them how to protect themselves from malaria.
As one man puts it………
The reality is that Malaria is a killer and the cause of poverty prevalence in Africa. If there is a way we can eradicate Malaria, we will be eradicating poverty to a large extent. ~ Eddie Barack
Donate and help save a life today.