The Law of Love – Part 2
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14
God’s love is the most powerful force the world has ever seen. And as a follower of Christ, it is up to you to carry the torch and keep it burning. The Bible says, ‘…Clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony’ (vv. 12 & 14). It’s one thing to quote Scriptures, pray long articulate prayers in public, study theology and attend church. But only when people see your love will they be impacted by your life. Love, not words, is the true test of your discipleship. It’s said that General Omar Bradley once made a business trip on a commercial airline wearing a regular suit instead of his military uniform. When he reached his seat, he started doing some paperwork. As it turned out, the man sitting next to him was a young army private who didn’t recognize Bradley. So, after take-off, he turned to the general and said, ‘Since we’re going to be together for a while, it would be nice if we got to know each other. My guess is that you’re a banker.’ Not wishing to seem rude, but needing to finish his work, Bradley replied, ‘No, I’m General Omar Bradley, a five-star general in the US Army. I head up the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, DC’. Without missing a beat, the young private replied, ‘Well, sir, that’s a very important job, and I sure hope you don’t blow it!’ Your most important job today is to show God’s love–so don’t blow it!
Heavenly Father, help me not to “blow it” in showing and demonstrating Your love to everyone I meet today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The Law of Love – Part 1
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
A newspaper told the story of a boy with cancer who was going through chemotherapy and losing his hair. To show their love and support, his classmates all shaved their heads so he wouldn’t be embarrassed about returning to school. The newspaper carried a picture of them all with their bald heads, accompanied by the caption, ‘Everything we do, we do together.’ That’s the ‘law of love’ Jesus was talking about when He said, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another.’ This must have sounded radical to the people Jesus was addressing, for they lived by two Old Testament laws: 1) the law of revenge. Before Moses came along, the law of the land was the law of the jungle. It said in essence, ‘If you hurt me I’ll hurt you and then hurt you even more!’ Enemies actively sought ways to settle old scores because revenge wasn’t just acceptable, it was encouraged. 2) the law of retribution. In Moses’ time, revenge was replaced with retribution, which allowed ‘an eye for an eye’, but no more (Leviticus 24:20). You could do to your enemies only what they had done to you. To us this sounds harsh, but back then it was major progress. Then Jesus came along and introduced a third law: the law of love. It meant you didn’t have to get even; you could choose to forgive. Indeed, if you didn’t, your prayers wouldn’t be answered. This new commandment demonstrates the unconditional love God shows to us—then calls us to live the same way. So the law of love should govern your life every day.
Heavenly Father, help me to love as You love me – unconditionally! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The Danger of Pursuing Power
A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. Proverbs 29:23
The first lie Satan told Adam and Eve was a direct appeal to the ego in all of us: ‘…You will be like God…’ (Genesis 3:5). The crafty old serpent pulled back the curtain to heaven’s throne room and gave our first parents a glimpse of power and glory and they were hooked. And we’ve been hooked ever since! If you’ve spent any time in the company of social climbers and ‘name droppers’, you realize human nature hasn’t changed much. It’s still about staying on top! And since manners can take you where money alone can’t, you can actually take classes that teach you ‘power table manners’. Things like never handing your plate to the waiter and never stooping to retrieve dropped cutlery. In fact, to ensure your place on the ladder of upward mobility, a cardinal rule is never to stoop at all! Not even to help meet people’s needs, admit your mistakes, or give to those who can’t repay you. The pursuit of power makes you think you’re better than others and prevents you from serving them. It makes you susceptible to flattery, resistant to honest counsel and leads to isolation and non-accountability. You see it every day in little things like never complimenting those under you in case they ‘forget their place’; refusing to be loving and courteous to your mate in case you lose your most powerful weapon—control; putting personal ambition ahead of personal integrity; withholding intimacy to punish and manipulate someone. Such power plays are designed to get you what you want at other people’s expense. That’s why the Bible warns, ‘A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble…retain honor.’
Heavenly Father, help humble me to serve those who are loved by You – the lowly, of which I am one! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The Loneliness of Leadership
I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone. Numbers 11:17
Moses said to God, ‘Why have You…laid the burden of all these people on me?’ (v. 11). God replied, ‘…Gather to Me seventy men…I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them…that you may not bear it yourself alone’ (vv. 16-17). Identify your God-given strengths, then delegate the rest to those who have strengths in your areas of weakness. Every leader is responsible for areas in which they have little or no competence. And when they try to exercise authority in those areas, they hinder everything and everybody under their watch. Put bluntly, there are things you are responsible for that you’ll never be good at, that you need to keep your nose out of and give to others! Why do we have such a hard time doing this? 1) Pride. Success is intoxicating and intoxicated people don’t think too clearly. We assume our abilities are broader than they actually are. Admitting weakness doesn’t make you less effective; it just confirms what everybody around you already knows! 2) Ignorance. We feel bad about delegating our weak areas because we assume everybody hates to do what we hate to do. Not so. You’re allowing others to shine; your limitations are their opportunities. 3) Independence. We think if the job is to be done ‘right’ we must do it ourselves. But leadership isn’t just about getting things done; it’s about getting things done through others. If you can’t find somebody to hand things to, look in the mirror! The people who follow you are exactly where you’ve led them! If you’ve nobody to delegate things to, guess who needs to change?
Heavenly Father, help me excel in those areas You have gifted me and allow others to do the things You have gifted them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Forgive, For Your Own Sake!
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
A lady shared: ‘I found my husband with another woman. Although he begged me for forgiveness, I wanted my pound of flesh, so I filed for divorce even though our kids asked me not to. Two years later my husband was still trying to get me back, but I wanted none of it. He’d hurt me and I wanted revenge. Finally he gave up, married a young widow with two children, and rebuilt his life without me. They’re all so happy and I’m just a lonely, miserable woman, who let bitterness ruin her life.’ Now there’s no question that infidelity is wrong. But without forgiveness, what’s left? There’s a point at which anger stops being a healthy emotion and becomes a driving force. Like a drug, you need larger and larger doses. Once that happens, you move even further from forgiveness, because without anger you’ve no energy at all. It’s what drives hate groups and extremists. Without bitterness they’ve no reason to exist. If you take bigotry from the racist, revenge from the zealot and chauvinism from the sexist, what’s left? ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’ Bitterness is fatal; it kills your soul. So how can you stop yourself from becoming bitter when you’ve been hurt? a) By looking into the face of the person who hurt you and seeing, instead, the face of the One who showed you mercy when nobody else would have given you another chance. b) By realizing that before the day, the week, the month or the year is out, you’ll need mercy yourself.
Heavenly Father, help me to be one who forgives and shows mercy to others – as You repeatedly do for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen