My pastor’s sermon on Sunday, December 8, 2019, was powerful. I wasn’t able to hear it in person since it was my Sunday to teach at the jail. The subject was “Loving One Another.” He expounded on Matthew 22:36-40 and John 13:34-35 for starters. In my notes I wrote down a statement that resonated with me: love embodies all the commands of God because it is the summation of His commandments.
The bottom line is those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to demonstrate a higher standard of love towards one another. I highly recommend you listen to it for yourself and I’ve included the link in the subject title in the previous paragraph. I encourage you to jot down a few notes to gauge your spiritual maturity in this area. I’m convinced you will find the need for adjustments like I did.
After listening to the message, I couldn’t help thinking about how it would benefit anyone struggling in a relationship with others. Many people want a relationship with others. My sons and daughters are in their prime, and many of them are considering marriage. Some are struggling in their current marriage or relationship. Too many of them lean on their perspective of relationships instead of praying from God’s perspective.
Unfortunately, the problem is too many think rushing into someone’s arms or bed is a springboard for the love they seek. Yes, genuine love doesn’t automatically materialize out of brokenness. Fast-tracked relationships don’t create the type of permanence desired. They are rush jobs forged by unplanned events or circumstances such as pregnancy or loneliness. To attempt to form loving relationships out of these couplings seldom work out well, though there are exceptions.
The truth is Christ-founded relationships require 100% commitment to work from both parties on both sides. Love isn’t for the lazy of heart and spirit. Without heartfelt dedication to the relationship, it becomes a sinking ship that will go under at some point. The person in the relationship who understands this best is normally the one who ends up doing most of the work. My prayer is that the one whose stronger in faith learn to pray for their mate until they grow in their relationship with God.
For my single children, my prayer is they learn to be content in their singleness for a time. The practice of enjoying being single and alone constitutes perfect timing to allow God to work through the damage without distractions. When Christ is the primary focus in our lives, trust in God grows as the creator of marriage weaves an integral part of the creation story found in the book of Genesis within us. We then come to have faith in his capability to bring the right type of love into our lives. Because God’s timing is the right timing, no one misses out on anything in the quiet time of being loved fully by him.
You are a wonder to watch day after day and night after night. How I long to hold you in my arms. You are so beautiful. You are so handsome. Your daily routine, impressive. Your goals are attainable. You demonstrate consistent willpower and keep your focus on the rainbows in your view. I marvel at your strength and tenacity in these times of ever-changing roles and lifestyles.
You are a feast for the eyes. You are always well-dressed. You model thrift store purchases as one endowed with riches. Your poise is full of humble confidence. Stylish by all standards. No one would deny you have earned it. Your climb up the corporate ladder is inspiring. Turning your business into a household name noteworthy. Every promotion deserved.
We find you remarkable. We know what you sacrifice to do what you do to give what you give. No one can attest to the time you obligate to others. Many miss how you extend your hand to serve others. Watching you willingly add to your already full plate exhausts me. You lend all of your talents to those around you. Your service in ministry is well-pleasing. You are faithful and so blessed.
I have spent lots of time and words expressing the debt of my love and appreciation for you. I know at the end of the day you returned my love the best way you knew how. It makes me love you even more. I know you have given me everything you feel you possess.
There are times when I want to revert back to childhood and run to the arms of my mother. That place of security, comfort, and reassurance that all will be right with the world again.
Today, I feel that way in my spirit. I just want to run into the arms of my Father. I woke up with the words from Cody Carnes – Nothing Else playing in my head.
My God, who is ever faithful, immediately began to minister to me in multiple ways. That’s just who He is. The relationship I have with Christ eliminates my need for anything or anyone else in my greatest times of need.
Matthew 18:19-20 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.
These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division. A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.
We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions. You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.
We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge. A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.” But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.
We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title. This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.
“What is your point,” you may ask? It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel! Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…
• Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
• Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
• Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
• Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.
Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.