Love & Power

Living a life with Jesus is never boring. I don’t imagine that the disciples said, “Man, I wish we could do something new today.” They witnessed Jesus turning stereotypes on their head. They traveled to new lands, they dined with strangers, they witnessed miracles. I don’t think they were ever bored.

We get that same form of living now, too. In big ways and small ways. In high school my best friend and I felt like we needed to love people in other countries. Since we couldn’t get there ourselves, we figured sending money to an organization would be good, and we chose Solomon’s Porch in Guatemala, since Hannah had just been there that summer. We love to bake, so we started a cupcake business my senior year of high school. Not to boost our resume, not to make money, but to love people who we’ve never even met. It was amazing. If you talk about life in Jesus not being boring, that was an exciting and invigorating time in my life where I was growing in my knowledge and skill in baking, and blessing others in ways that were bigger than I could imagine.

You can love others in small ways too. I went to the Georgia College cross country practice this morning since I enjoy visiting and running with the team. At the end of practice they went around and said what they are thankful for. A couple of people said their friends on the team and the encouragement that they’ve provided, and I realized that there was a zero percent chance that my roommates were going to say that they were thankful for me. Not because they aren’t, but I’ve done nothing in the past couple weeks to show that I care for them outside of conversation. Not a good luck on your test sticky note, or a how did the project go. Nothing. And not that I needed to be recognized, but it should never be a guarantee that the people I spend time with don’t feel intentionally known by me.

We went around the whole circle, sharing our gratitude, and ended with my coach. He looked at everyone and said proudly, “I am thankful for this girl right here.” He placed his hand on my shoulder and I thought about crying, but figured that might be too dramatic. “She sent me an encouraging text last week, and I’m glad she’s here today.”

That’s all it took. For him to feel known by me was an easy text. For me to feel cared for by him it was a sentence. That’s the power of love.

If God so loved us in the world that he gave his only son, so that we may know Him and have eternal life, why do we not reciprocate it? He loves first, so we can love Him in return. If the Spirit reigns in us then we have the power and responsibility to love others first.

Your life and my life should look radically different if we love like Jesus does. In Bob Goff’s book, Everybody Always, he explains how he receives calls from prisoners, pays the acceptance fee, and talks with them. One time he bought a prisoner his ankle monitor because his family wouldn’t do it for him.

“I don’t want what’s fair – I want to be like Jesus.” – Bob Goff.

1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

When we love others, we show them Christ. When we can’t love others, we are choosing to not show them Jesus. Loving people will always reflect Jesus.

There are a lot of reasons to not love someone. Bitterness, anger, hurt, fear. But if perfect love casts out fear, and the blood on the cross was the holy example of perfect love, then we have the power to overcome.

I feel like it’s tough to imagine what that kind of love looks like. When I see it in humans though, imperfect beings, then I maybe understand a little bit. On the first day of cross country practice my junior year of college, I was running with some freshman and got us lost. Not lost in the woods, but on an out and back run, where in theory you make no turns and go straight for thirty minutes, turn around, and run straight thirty minutes back. Needless to say, don’t ask me for directions.

So we ended up on the side of the road, waving down a truck to use his phone to call our parents to call our coach to say the address of the house we were in front of. We were lost for over an hour before we were able to contact our coach, and I thought I had it coming for me when his truck pulled into the drive way. How could I have gotten us so lost?

Coach was delighted to see us. I think he could have cried. His love and care for us wasn’t based on conditions, but a delight in our well-being. I think that’s how God sees us. Neither height nor depth nor nakedness nor persecution nor getting yourself very lost can separate us from the love of Christ.

Paul states in 1 Corinthians, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.”

There’s something to our responses. We may not be able to control our circumstances all the time, but we can control how we respond. In John 16:33 Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” With a life in Christ, we need not be fearful or bored. A beautiful adventure awaits for those who say yes in love.

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