Love, that is, love in a spiritual context, is not just a feeling. It is love in action, in support, in forgiveness, in walking alongside someone, and in so much more. When we decide to follow Jesus, human love needs to grow out of its being about ourselves and who we love or don’t love into God’s love which pours out of us to everyone we meet. Love expresses our deep interest in the person before us. We learn how to be totally present to those we are with by being still/sitting in God’s presence. Love in this sense is passing along God’s love to everyone we meet. And the circle of those we meet grows and grows from our family, to our church, to the poor and needy whom Christ showed us how to love, to whoever God would define as our purpose in this world. For our purpose is to show God’s kind of love to those we encounter in the work that He has designed us for.
God’s love that we are passing on to others would never say what I heard a woman in my former church say to the friends she was walking with: “I love everyone, but I don’t have to like them!” That is not love. Love sees the person and the reasons why he or she is having problems in his/her live. Love knows the trauma and difficulties he/she have faced. Love understands how they came to do what they did in their lives that was not helpful or sinful. And love forgives the person for his/her choices. Think of how the close family members of the people who were killed in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church massacre in Charleston NC in 2015 immediately forgave Dylan Roof who had joined their Bible study one evening and then killed the participants. Everyone in this world is subject to the world’s or personal choices that aren’t good for them. Not one of the people God created will ever be perfect, as long as we are living in these human bodies/minds/hearts/souls. We all have free choice to make mistakes or not; we all have to deal with our egos and what they want for us which only serve ourselves.
We humans were made to live in community, to help and serve others as needed, but especially to love our neighbors. Now that we are living in this 21st century with global warming a growing disaster in this world, we need to be more and more committed to the community of mankind as countries are having to move their capitals away from the shore, as temperatures are rising everywhere to sometimes disastrous levels. We need to set aside our wants and desires and look at the whole earth, to see if there aren’t changes that we should be making in our lives which would help the world here and abroad adapt the way they live here on this earth, so that we can all still live here although without all the pomp and circumstance in which some of us live.
So, how do we learn to pass on God’s love and forgiveness and to accept that love and forgiveness for ourselves? If we are willing to follow Jesus, to go beyond just believing in Him, we will be invited to give up—one by one—the issues within us that come between us and God. As we let God heal all the resistance that is within us, the burdens we have been carrying of hiding our sins, our pain, and our resistance will be lifted off of our shoulders. (Matthew 11:28-30). We come to the realization that, no matter what we have done or what was done to us in our lives, God’s love and forgiveness and mercy is waiting for us to accept what has always been true—that we are God’s beloved children made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) and always have been. Then, as we take in His love, we find that we are freed of so much of what our culture has put on us, which has never been good for us. We will be invited into a purpose which is made just for us by God who knows us better than we can know ourselves. It will often grow out of our own suffering which is now healed, so that we are helping others who are going through what we suffered. And that is so fulfilling!
Just think of what it will mean to have your suffering healed, your ability to live in the present moment achieved instead of living in the past, the joy that comes from a fulfilling life designed just for you, and the love you experience and then pass on to others! The fruit of the Spirit of Galatians 5:22-23 is yours: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and humility or self-control. Life is no longer just about your own self, but about living in the community of all humankind, the kingdom of God on this Earth! As we care for others, God is providing all that we need, blessing us, and asking us to continue to grow in His love and the purpose for our lives until we finally depart from this Earth.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I just believe in Jesus Christ, or have I been willing to follow Jesus wherever He would take me? Can I imagine a more fulfilling life, a deeper journey than I have experienced so far in my life? What would I have to do to start on that journey? To make my commitment to Christ to always follow Him?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who will follow Jesus wherever He would take us. May we each see our lives open up to the blessings and the surrenders of following Him instead of just living in this world with its demands on us. May we live in peace and joy and love.
Check out my two websites: patsaidadams.com and deepeningyourfaith.com.
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at email@example.com and I will email it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.