Jesus came into this world not just to bear and atone for our sin, but also to teach us, to show us how to live our lives as servants of God. So many of His teachings add to our understanding of God’s laws and go way the Ten Commandments, beyond the letter-of-the-law interpretations. He was pointing out that our outer actions and our inner prejudices and judgments had to line up with the Laws of God.
In the Ten Commandments, Number Six is “You shall not murder” [Exodus 20:13]. That’s a very clear directive to not murder someone, but Jesus added this in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment” [Matthew 5:22]. And this: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” [Matthew 5:1]. Jesus was very clear that our outer actions and inner states of mind needed to line up with God’s love and forgiveness.
Jesus is reminding us to live in the truth [John 8:32], the truth about ourselves, about others and about God. One of those truths is that we are all sinners and need to repent and to let Jesus redeem our lives. If we remember that we are all created in God’s image, then we must treat all men and women alike. This truth will set us free from the world’s influence in our lives—the prejudices, biases, and the half-truths– all the things that we grow up thinking are okay because we are Americans, while everyone else who doesn’t look like us or grow up like us is an outsider.
Another truth about ourselves is that we should be humble, as Jesus was: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” [Matthew 20:28]. The truth is that we human beings are all made in the image of God [Genesis 1:27] and that we need to be humble, not to think of ourselves as being above anyone else, but equal to them in God’s eyes. Our status, our wealth, our education, our professions—nothing puts us ahead of anyone else in God’s eyes. And so we are called by Jesus to serve others as we serve our God, to be His servant, His slave, if you will, just as Jesus was here on earth.
So many of us Christians are trying to live in both worlds at the same time: in God’s world and in the kingdom, but Jesus taught that “no one can serve two masters” Matthew 6:24]. We cannot keep our loyalty to the world and serve God, too. “You cannot serve both God and money” [Matthew 6:24]. Until we realize this truth, we will be split in our devotion to God. We will be lying to ourselves that we can do both. In order to live this truth, we must give ourselves over to God’s healing and transformative ways so that He can heal our pain and suffering which leads to fear and anger, to our prejudices which cause us to treat other people poorly, to our judgments which build walls between us and God, and to all our egocentricity which elevates our agendas and our needs about everyone else’s, including God’s plan for us.
Only God can heal the walls in us that protect us from harm in the world, but also cut us off from a true servanthood to God in Christ. We are to follow His lead, step by step, in which He heals us of all our separateness so that we can enter the kingdom, in which He reveals our purpose and the life that would fulfill us. We have to put God first above all else, for His healing and transformation to happen in us as we allow Him to lead us as He will.
Let us not forget that Jesus dealt with the sick and lame, the blind and lepers, the outcasts, like the Samaritan woman at the well, the tax collectors, Romans and also the Pharisees. He excluded no one from His ministry and healing. And we are to take our lead from Him. For He is the shining example of how we all are to live. Now each of us has different gifts and talents, a different purpose for which we created. And yet, we, too, are to serve everyone that God puts in our path, no matter their race, or wealth or need or any difference between us, just as Jesus did. There is joy and love abounding that awaits our transformation. There is peace and healing and a purposeful life ready for us as we agree that we will surrender to His plan for us. There is humility and compassion abounding in the work that awaits us. There is patience, goodness, kindness and gentleness, too. And faithfulness [The Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23], above all, as we turn our lives over to God and become the people that He designed us to be.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I following Jesus’s example of how to love and to live in compassion for all whom He asks me to love. Am I equally loving of all of God’s children, regardless of their race or wealth or likeness to me? Do I enter into other people’s lives and try to see them as God sees them? Am I loving and compassionate?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who can see the real people before us, their need, their trials, their standing as one of God’s created souls. May we be loving, interested in, and compassion towards all of God’s children.
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