“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35
Love for one another. It sounds like an easy task, especially if you are in a good mood, the person you are with doesn’t annoy you, and things are going as planned. However, we are not always in the best of moods, maybe the person you are with rubs you the wrong way, and the circumstances you find yourself in may be chaotic. How do you love someone then?
Lately I’ve been learning how to love people when I don’t feel like it, or would rather be alone. See, Christ asks us to sacrifice ourselves, and serve others in His name. If I am loving others with HIS love, then He will continue to replenish it, and as I continue to pursue Him, His love will automatically flow to others.
Love is not a feeling that comes and goes, it is a way of life, a choice. I certainly don’t “feel” like loving my enemies, but the Lord says to do so. It isn’t easy, but it is a commitment. It’s a full time job to love others, finding ways to serve them, listening when they need an ear, not avoiding them when you want alone time.
It is a hard lesson to learn, but I’m finding that when I choose to allow the Lord to love others through me, even when I don’t feel like it, it’s rewarding to see the other person smile. Sometimes they won’t even know it’s you that wrote that note, that you did the dishes because you know it’s less stressful for that person to live in a clean apartment. But really, we don’t perform acts of love for ourselves to get praise, we do it so that the Lord can love others and receive all the glory.
Anyways, thank you for listening. I am still in the process of learning this lesson, and am finding that unity between the Body of Christ is much more appealing than the separation that occurs from unbroken people.
Please pray for me that I don’t let my own selfishness get in the way of loving my brothers and sisters, my family, friends, and those around me. I will be praying for you too.
This week the latest School of Discipleship class graduated. It got me to thinking about my year and everything that went on. Things were definitely challenging throughout the year. You definitely have to die to yourself, (you think they were joking when they put that on the brochure?) you have to follow a fairly strict schedule, you have to be disciplined…but the worst thing was having to go away. If I could have every one of my friends go throught the School of Discipleship I would. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and an awesome time of growth, and the graduation made me think of the toughest ones. Besides one failure, the worst thing was was saying goodbye to those at Gospel For Asia.
Top 5 things about being in the School of Discipleship
- Being taught how to live like Jesus by seeing the example of older brothers and sisters in the Lord.
- Times of worship, including personal prayer and Bible reading, as well as corporate prayer and worship through teaching and music.
- The community of believers that surround you – insta-family!
- Going to Asia and seeing the mission field! (Boy, that’s too much to try to explain in one bullet point.)
- Class room times, home work, etc. (The theory is taught and you see how it works in those around you.)
So, as I was saying, the hardest part was leaving. When I thought about writing this I then realized that it’s also one of the best things because as much as God loves putting us through those seasons of teaching, He wants us to continue to grow because it’s our choice. We can do things because we have homework assignments or because we really want to. When you graduate and go home you get to really choose who you’re going to do those things for.
But good news! Not everyone has to leave. 🙂 I’m glad to know that many of this past class will be coming back on full time staff. Congratulations January class of 2012!
In January, I got to visit the mission field. It had been five years since I’d been there. During that time, I met up with an old friend, Gabriel, and this time I got to meet his wife and daughter. His wife is energetic and kind and makes amazing ginger tea. Their daughter, Faith, is two years old. When Faith was born she had a band around her kidney that restricted all blood flow; this meant she had to have that kidney removed. Having a kidney removed as an adult is a major thing, even more so for a baby that’s just a few months old. The prayer request reached us here in the States. Since she was my friend’s daughter, it hit especially close to home for me. The Lord’s hand was so evident throughout Faith’s surgery and she did fine. Her other kidney picked up all the work it needed to do. Praise the Lord! She is now healthy and incredibly smart, and she loves to sing. When I visited she knew about 30 songs in several languages. I know the Lord has a special plan for her life.
Spending time with people like Gabriel and his family made the trip really special for me. Getting to see how the Lord had grown and used friends during the five years since I’d seen them was encouraging. It’s just a simple thing, the reunion of friends, but it was a wonderful snapshot of all God can do in a life and how faithful He will be to complete the work He has begun in each of us. None of our journeys are complete; they’re just five years further along so it gave me a lot of hope, too, hope in all God will do in the future. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with who He is.
I sometimes liken the part I get to play in building God’s Kingdom to the part a two year old plays when they help wash dishes. They might throw some suds around on the dish, but the adult takes care of the real work. This isn’t to say the Lord only gives us petty jobs; rather, He’s the one accomplishing the work, no matter how big or small. It’s His power and strength working through me, and doing it with Him is the greatest treasure. Just like time spent with your two year old is the real treasure, not the twice cleaned bowl.
It’s Him enabling us to serve. It’s Him walking with us every step of the way. “He who called you is faithful; He will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
So, I love my friends, I’ll start by saying that.
I was on my way home from work today and it just so happens that some of my friends drive home the same way as I do. I got to a shorter light and was in the process of changing my CD when all of a sudden, out of nowhere there is an arm reaching across my windsheild and puts up one of my windshield wipers. (A harmless prank that my friends and I usually do to each others cars when they are in a parking lot).
I of course jump a mile in my seat, and look over in time to see one of my friends running back to another friend’s car which is in the far other lane away from mine, and he’s laughing, a third friend pulls next to me, and I have very short time to act.
With barely 15 seconds before the light turns green, I quickly roll my window down, put my car in park, take my seatbelt off and reach out my window to put the windshield wipers back down. Of course my arm was too short so I had to really reach for the thing. Just as the light turned green I got back in my car and drove off. Putting my seatbelt on as I stole a last glance back to my friends who were laughing in the car.
Gotta love my friends 🙂 I couldn’t stop laughing about it till I got home. Hehe