A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Love One Another. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Love One Another. Show all posts

May 28, 2024

Love Like Jesus Loved!

I am constantly amazed as to how God connects the experiences throughout my day to teach me something that I desperately need to know. I'm sure many of you can relate when I say that the TV series The Chosen has opened up new spiritual principles that I either was never taught, or never sought. And I have experienced profound emotions as the Bible has opened up to me on a whole new level.

I feel as if I'm in a new season of diving deeper into my relationship with Jesus. So as I am rewatching this amazing series, I find that my spirit is awakening to Jesus's teachings in almost a revolutionary new way. To be precise, I was watching an episode in which Jesus's capacity to love is so evident. And the way in which He loved was  contrary to how our human spirits would respond. Furthermore, the people He was coming in contact with were not particularly lovable. They certainly were not loved by their community or the religious institutions of the day. And they didn't respond in any form of reciprocal love. But Jesus responded with patience, sharing the Father's love for the Lost and the Religious in equal measure. And He came to show us how to extend that love to others.

I daresay that those of us who identify as Believers are very familiar with God's commandments to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). But it is Jesus's words in John 13:34 that has captivated [and challenged] my heart, mind, soul, and spirit .... "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another". Wow! It is that last sentence that brought such new and profound conviction to my spirit! 

AS HE HAS LOVED ME, I AM TO LOVE OTHERS! Such a simple concept, right? But do we truly know what that looks like and understand the breadth and depth of His love? And how are we capable of imitating that in our humanness? To love others as He has loved us sounds like such a simple precept, but my friends, how many of us can actually accomplish it? During this last week, God aligned several experiences to highlight the importance of following this commandment from my Savior. The first was while watching the episode of The Chosen in which the woman with the bleeding issue forced her way through the crowds for the opportunity to simply touch the hem of Jesus, believing He could heal her. This has always been a touching testimony for me because I suffered so long with endometriosis and all the emotional and physical suffering that accompanies this disease. Like the woman in the Bible, doctors were unable to help me, and it often left me feeling disheartened and discouraged. 

I longed for that deliverance myself, and even experienced a vision in the night of being bowed down before Him [in Heaven] as He walked past me and I saw (in reality, in the spirit) the Hem of His robe, close enough that I could reach out and touch it. It was so powerful, that the adrenaline shocked me out of the vision and I sat straight up in bed! But it was the ability of the actor who plays Jesus to touch my spirit so that I finally recognized My Lord's genuine and compassionate love for ME! I saw the Lord's heart and the depth of His love in that scene for that woman, and understood, for the first time, that that is how Jesus loves me! As He bends down to her, Jesus calls her "My Daughter", at which time all the years of suffering I had experienced responded to the nuance of his voice and the compassion in his eyes so that I couldn't stop the tears. I have known, intellectually, that I am His Daughter, but I felt it in the depth of my being. And when the character Jesus tells her that her faith has healed her and He is so glad they found each other, I was overcome with the conviction that Jesus was glad we have found each other, too! The intensity of His love was like nothing I thought I would ever understand!

But here's where God doesn't leave me in the emotion of my deeper understanding. The next morning [after watching that episode] was our Home Church and we were studying Romans 14. In this chapter, Paul is talking about the situation that existed in the early Church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in regards to following the religious regulations of the Law; in this case, specifically the dietary laws. The Jewish Christians wanted to still follow the regulations regarding the eating of meat, while the Gentile Christians were set free from those obligations by the Coming of Jesus who gave them the freedom of their conscience to choose what they ate. The bottom line is that Paul was teaching them all not to criticize or judge one another in the matter of what they ate or drank. "Do not, for the sake of food, tear down the work of God [in a person's life]". The Kingdom of God is not based on what food we eat, but on "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." So, as Believers, instead of judging each other for our choices, we should be building each other up, which leads to our spiritual growth and mature relationships with God. If we are offending each other by our criticisms and judgments, then Paul says we are no longer walking in love toward our brothers and sisters in faith.

Which brings me right back to AS HE HAS LOVED US, WE ARE TO LOVE OTHERS! I quickly became convicted of how many times the Body of Christ engages in disagreements over theology and denominational doctrine and man-made religious rituals. I have been guilty of seeing the differences between Believers, instead of celebrating our mutual love of Christ. Yes, we see things differently regarding how we celebrate Communion, whether we celebrate the Feast Days or not, whether speaking in tongues is a prerequisite for being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. I have not been guilty of focusing on those things, but have still been guilty of noticing them. None of that matters to Christ or the Father! What matters is how well we are loving each other! As Paul says in Romans 14:4, "Who are we to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands approved or falls out of favor... Let everyone be fully convinced [assured, satisfied, convicted] in his own mind". Jesus is each Believer's Master and it is through their relationship with the Lord that they will stand or fall. We are responsible for ourselves, no one else. Our job is to love each person as Jesus loves them, encouraging them to grow in their relationship with Him so that they will be convicted in their hearts, minds and souls as to what He requires of them. That is what will expand the Kingdom of God across the world and defeat Satan's dark kingdom. 

Because in the end, as Paul points out in Romans 14:10, We will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. We will give an accounting of how well we have represented Him, and what we have done for His Kingdom. How well have you shown what it is to love others? How well have you loved My people? It won't matter whether we are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Catholic. It won't matter what religious titles we held. And it sure won't matter what we accumulated in this world, or how well we succeeded by the world's standards. Did you show the Lord's unconditional compassion and mercy to others as He has exhibited to you? Did you share His Agape love -- the highest form of love, because it is given whether it is returned or not; it is the spiritual love of Christ to humanity.

So, I admit that I am far from walking in the love of Christ, but I see so clearly and deeply how selfless His love has been towards me. And I want to grow into that image and love others in the same way. I am convicted in my own heart and mind that others deserve what He has given me, and I will earnestly work towards their own personal recognition of just how much He loves them. We all know the foundational truth that God so loved us all that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. But I want everyone to experience that deeply personal and emotional moment of hearing Him call you "Daughter" or "Son", like I did. You will never be the same!

John 13:35       By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.