Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 74 Living a lifestyle of love – Part 2

If the evidence of our love for Jesus is obedience, then we must examine our lives because looking for the evidence requires:

  • The Examination of our love for Jesus

In Matthew 22 we read that after Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees came and questioned Him, one of the experts in the religious law tried to trick and trap Him: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law?” In verse 37 Jesus replied “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” It is here that Jesus summed up the entire law for He said in verse 40 “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If you want to know whether you really love Jesus then measure your life, your attitudes and actions against these verses. What about you, do you obey the first commandment, do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind? Many of us claim that God is first, yet we place everyone and everything else before Him. So, what place does Jesus have in your life? If we truly love the Lord, He will have preeminence in every area of our life. Look at the Ten Commandments that Jesus summed up. 1. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ 2. ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’ 3. ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’ 4. ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ If we really love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind then we will not have any other Gods, we will not create idols, disgrace His name or dismiss His day. But how many today who claim to be Christians don’t pray, don’t worship and don’t read the Bible? We say that we love Jesus, but we don’t even talk to Him. What if I told you that I loved my wife, but I never talked to her, what would you say about my love? Today we claim that we love God, but we don’t even talk to Him. I do love my wife and one of the evidences of my love is that I communicate with her regularly. Now some of us may be feeling good right now because we do communicate with Christ, but only when there is in a crisis. What if the only time I talked to my wife was when I was complaining or when I needed her to do something, do you think she would view that as love? In Philippians 4:6 Paul says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” When was the last time you called on Christ just to say thanks for who He is and what He has done? When was the last time you appreciated His mercy, grace, love, and salvation?  Today most of our communication with Christ revolves around our current crisis, because we are no longer consumed with Christ and His Will but the cares of this world. We say that we love the Lord but when was the last time you listened to the Lord? Do you allow Him to speak to you through scripture? Today most of the people who claim to be believers don’t even read their bible. There are some who argue over which translation of the Bible to use yet in truth they never even read the one they say is right. If the Bible is God’s infallible, inerrant and inspired Holy Word then why would we leave it sitting on a shelf? The Psalmist said in Psalms 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” While prayer provides a way for us to speak the Bible is God’s way of speaking to us, but how many of us are having åone-way conversations with the Creator? Does your love for Him cause you to listen, do you love His Word? Which did you spend more time on last week, studying God’s Word or scrolling through your Facebook feed? What is more important to you His truth or was is trending on TV and Twitter? When was the last time you lingered over the living Word and let God to speak to you about, His work in creation, His perfect plan that resulted in the sacrifice of His Son for your sins? When was the last time you listened to what He has in store for you when this life is over? Or what He calls His children to accomplish and avoid? We are privileged to possess a copy of God’s Word, it’s in our homes and even on our phones yet do we read it? Obedience is not a matter of rules it revolves around relationship. So how about you, after all the examination is there any evidence that you love Jesus? 

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 73 Living a lifestyle of love – Part 1

John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”

May Christians say that they want to know God’s Will for their lives but once they do will they be obedient to it? Do we really want to know His Will so we can please Him, or is it more a case of wanting to know His Will so we can determine if it fits our wants and then decide if we will follow? In John 14 we find Jesus preparing His disciples for His departure, and as He does He not only reveals God’s Will to be a lifestyle of obedience, but models it in His own walk. Jesus was “obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). It is here that we who claim to be followers of Christ also come face to face with the call of every Christian, to follow His commands.  God’s Will is not about some specific place it’s a practice called obedience. It’s not some hard to grasp concept it is simply choosing to obey His commands. Today we tend to shy away from talking about obedience because we live in a society that is tuned to self not sacrifice, but the Bible has much to say about obedience. For Christians, the very act of taking up our cross and following Him requires a life of obedience. Obedience is careful compliance to the commands of Christ, it is at the very heart of our relationship with God. We can’t have a healthy connection to our Father if we have a disobedient life. Obedience comes from a heart that is at home with Him being in charge. But this is not just a matter of outward compliance to His Will, it involves our hearts not just our heads. It’s not just outward conformity to commands but inward change, the driving force behind our obedience is love not the law. Today we see obedience as obligation, all we see is restrictive rules and so we miss the relationship. It is here that Jesus also reminds us that our love for Him is not just a matter of words but action. So let me ask you do you Love Jesus? Before you answer that first answer take the time to answer these questions:

Does your life show that you love Jesus? 

Do your actions prove your love for Jesus? 

Are the choices that you make based on your love for Jesus?

Would others testify of your love for Jesus?

It is in this simple verse that we see:

  • The Evidence of our love for Jesus 

Jesus begins His statement with the word “IF” because He knew that not everyone who had said that they loved Him did. One of His own disciples, Judas, had already left to betray him for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a Hebrew salve (Exodus 21:32). That’s how much value religion places on the Redeemer, they see the Savior as nothing more than a slave there to do their bidding. Jesus makes it clear that if we really love Him then there will be evidence and that evidence is obedience. What about the life that you are living, are you living in complete obedience to Jesus? Can others see what it looks like to be Christian by watching your daily life? Today there are many who claim to love Jesus yet continue to live life their way. The truth is that their lives do not conform to God’s commands because they are caught up in their own cares. Vance Havner said, “You have not really learned a commandment until you have obeyed it.… The church suffers today from Christians who know volumes more than they practice.” Anyone can say they love God, but the proof is in obeying Him. Following Christ involves conforming every area of our life to him. It requires submitting every relationship, every attitude, every word, every thought, and every action to Him. It involves our whole lives, not just a few specific things that we do or don’t do. Today we practice compartmentalized Christianity, where we choose which of His commands we want to follow. When we see obedience as optional instead of being conformed to Christ we live compromised and carless lives. Listen to what Peter said : “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16.  We are called to be obedient “In all that we do” not in some of what we do. There are many things vying for control of your life like magnets pulling you in different directions. But true freedom comes when we are conformed to God’s Will, when we choose to follow His commands. A compass works, not when the needle does what it wants, but when it is directed to true north. The alternative to obeying God is not freedom, but obeying another authority.  We either surrender our lives to the Savior or we live lives as slaves.