Life with Jesus…8

Greetings to all in this life with Jesus,

In continuing this series on this life with Jesus we need to realize that God has given us something to do. Last week we asked the question of Jesus, “Show us how to love.” We can’t truly love Jesus or others when we are conformed to the world or to religion. We have to find out how He wants us to be His reflection in the hurting world. Romans 12:3 starts this process of thinking a little different.

It all starts with grace. We all need grace! That is a good place to start on seeing that we are connected to each other (Romans 3:23). So, we need to check our attitudes of superiority at the door. We don’t have the market on anything; we are all learning to follow Jesus. Some of us are on a different part of this journey but we are all still on the same road. This scripture tells us that instead of “thinking of ourselves” we need to understand that God has given faith to each of us. Now, this is where we need to stop and really look at this word faith. Pistis/faith (pis’-tis) translates: persuasion, that is, credence. For something to persuade or to have credence there has to be evidence to support the claim. I believe that my wife loves me but her love has credence when she treats me with respect. The “faith” is the action that is done because we do believe. Peter showed faith when he stepped out of the boat and walked on water. He showed a lack of faith when his eyes left Jesus. So this passage is saying that God has given us something to do and when we live “faith” then we become part of His plan. I know that if we don’t do whatever it is, He will find someone else. So, in the end His plan will be fulfilled. The question that needs to be asked is, “Do we want a part of it?” (Romans 12:4-8).

So how do we go from mere actions to real love? Well, let’s look at the next part of Romans. Romans 12:9-21 links action with love. What are some of the actions seen here in this passage?

  1. Love without Hypocrisy
    1. Action – Detest what is evil and cling to what is good.
  2. Love  others as family
    1. Action – Serve the Lord with all you are and all you have (wherever He leads).
    2. Action – Never give up on God. He will show up!
    3. Action – Be generous (look for ways without being noticed or being paid back).
    4. Action – Pursue hospitality (be proactive about bringing people into your home and life).
    5. Action – Rejoice and weep with others (be open to the hurts and celebrations of others).
    6. Action – Live at peace as best as you can.
    7. Acton – Do not be proud, but be humble just like your heavenly Father.
  3. Love your Enemies
    1. Action – Bless those who wrong you (persecution is to be expected – don’t be surprised).
    2. Action – Leave room for God’s plan (do not try to take His place–we can’t handle it).
    3. Action – Give food and drink to those who persecute you (they need the bread of life and the living water that only comes from real love).

Sometimes we read scripture so literally that we miss some of the greatest lessons in the word of God. When we really look at this passage and see how love and actions are tied together – it is so AMAZING!

I know that many of us Christians are really good about talking about love but we lack in faith or in action. The other issue is we as a people have watered down the word “love” to mean anything. We put, “I love chocolate ice-cream,” “Yes, Jesus loves me,” or “I love Jesus, yes I do; I love Jesus, how about you!” Do you see how things can get watered down? Do we really love like Jesus loved? Are we laying our life down for others? Are we feeding and giving water to the poor and hungry? Are we clothing the naked? Many of us say we believe in the things of Jesus, but in genuine faith, are we following the example of Jesus?

Let me try this question: are we just placing a chair (representing what we say we believe) in the middle of the world’s mess or are we standing on it (representing doing what we say we believe)? This is what many of us do. We have a message of hope and we have the answers to the questions but we just put them out there and hope that someone will notice. But what really needs to happen is that we need to stand on what we say we believe and that takes faith–actions! So, as any good director would say, “Quiet on the set! Life with Jesus, take 8.” (Or however many time it takes us to get it!) “…AND ACTION!”

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason