Transformational Truths

DO THESE FOUR THINGS TO LOVE WELL

Have you ever thought about love being an action? Usually we think of love as a feeling, emotion, and affection. 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter” in the Bible. An excerpt from the passage says “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:37-39 

It is important that we get the act of love right. There is an easy to remember, four-step action we can use to put love in action in our life toward God and toward others. The four steps are L-O-V-E to Listen, to Observe, to Value, and to Enjoy. If we act out these four things in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions with God and others, we will fulfill the greatest and the second greatest commandments.

Listening is almost a lost art. Our lives are so distracted and multi-tasked, we barely have time to hear ourselves think. We have far less time and attention to listen to what others are saying.

Listening begins with time, continues with attention, and concludes with processing what is being said.

Have you ever looked someone straight in the face when they’re talking and not heard a word they were saying? Have you gestured to their inflection, but were unaware of the actual point the communicator had just voiced?

To love someone well, take the time to listen with attention to detail of what is being said and thoughtfully process the words being communicated.

Loving well through observation can be acted out by looking for body language and preferences. Observe not just the words that are being said, but the attitude with which they are being communicated. Notice how the arms are folded, head is turned, eye contact is avoided, or how the stair is piercing. This will allow you to interpret how the person communicating really feels about the words being said. Additionally, remember what other’s prefer. Observe what makes others happy, remember details about what they like or don’t like, and attempt to see things from their perspective.

Study the person you are attempting to love. Examine the words they are saying, the means they are using to communicate, and the importance of the words to the individual speaking. If it is important to them, it should be important to you . . . if you want to love the other person well.

Rate others more important than yourself. Value the other person, whether it be God or others as more important than yourself. It has been said like this, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

Valuing others begins with placing a higher price on them than you place on yourself. It is taking the lower rung, the lower position in priority. It is being humble which has been defined as not to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less.

The cost of valuing someone else above yourself is the price that must be paid to love well.

The final part in loving well is enjoyment. The enjoyment of others must be acted out to truly love others. Be thrilled when you spend time with others. We are living in a world of isolation. There are a lot of people who would rather be by themselves and have their own space than to take the time to invite others in and find pleasure in getting to know them.

How many of us, when alone, would answer “I’m good” when invited to spend time one-on-one with someone either by phone or in person? Love is actively displayed when we take pleasure in sharing life’s ups and downs with others.

Psalm 16:11 says of God ‘Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy.” Enjoying God and others begins with sharing the path of life.

In conclusion, LOVE is absolutely an action. It can be summarized as follows: Listen attentively giving time and thought to the communication of God and others as they speak to you. Observe the thoughts and actions of God and others respecting them and their preferences. Value God and others as more important than yourself, catering to their wishes and time schedules. Enjoy the presence of God and others as you walk the path of life together.

LISTEN ~ OBSERVE ~ VALUE ~ ENJOY

Transformational Truths

A WORD ABOUT PRAYER

Rahab, in Joshua 2, pleaded with the spies for protection. She was asking them to spare her life and her family.  She knew she was in danger and asked the spies to help because she knew they were the only ones who could help.  She demonstrated an allegiance to the spies by hiding them from the officials.  This kindness to the strangers was an active way to plead with them for mercy. She wanted the spies to spare her own life and the life of her family.  Everyone who came into her house, she wanted to be spared from destruction. 

Prayer is recognizing we need help and calling on the only one who can help. 

In the New Testament, Jesus told a parable of a Widow.  He told this story to teach the people to pray and not to give up.  Jesus wanted to show the importance of endurance in prayer.  The Widow’s story is found in Luke 18:1-8

The Widow continually came to the town’s Judge day after day, beating on his door, and asking for protection from her enemy.  Because the Judge was weary with her continual coming, he gave her what she asked.  Jesus concluded the parable saying, God is much kinder than the “unjust judge” in the story.  Therefore, God would hear and answer those who ask Him for help.

Rahab had never heard the story of the unjust judge, but she lingered with the spies and continued to ask them for deliverance from destruction.  She hid them to buy some time to plead more for her life and the life of her family. She knew God would be destroying the city in which she lived.  She had the only people who could do anything about it within range for them to hear. She didn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to ask the only ones who could do anything about sparing her life when the city was destroyed.

We can learn much from the action of Rahab and the parable of the Widow. When we pray, we pray to God. God is ultimately the only one who can do anything about what we need. Sometimes when we pray, we do not know the outcome.  We do not know how it will turn out.  But pray to God always, don’t give up, and diligently ask for help from the only One who can do anything about your situation.

Hebrews 11:31 says “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” Rahab welcomed the spies and interacted with them for her own benefit and salvation, and that of her family. When we pray to God, we accept Him, give ourselves to Him, and interact with Him for our own benefit and salvation (or those for whom we pray). We keep praying as the persistent Widow. We know God hears and will answer us.

We can know that when we pray and don’t faint, God will hear and give us what only He is able to do. Jesus solidified this understanding with the following passage: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

BOTTOM LINE ON A WORD ABOUT PRAYER
— KEEP PRAYING!

Transformational Truths

Highlights From a Great Message – The Ambassadors’ Ministry of Reconciliation by John MacArthur

Watch the Entire Message

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

This text defines for us the mandate that every Christian has from God to engage in the ministry of reconciliation, to proclaim the message of reconciliation, thereby functioning as an ambassador for Christ through whom God is conveying His message.

Reconciliation is

  • By the will of God.
  • By the act of forgiveness.
  • By the obedience of faith.
  • By the work of substitution.

We all long to go to heaven so we can get rid of this cantankerous flesh that keeps subjecting us to sinful things. I’m not righteous. But then again, on the cross Christ was not a sinner. But God treated Him as a sinner and though I’m not righteous, God treats me as if I am righteous. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived my life, and now He treats me as I live – as if I lived Jesus life. Is that a startling thought?

That’s why there’s no condemnation. God looks at the cross, sees Jesus. Looks at – looks at the cross rather, and sees us bearing His fury. Looks at us and sees His Son. That’s what it means to be in Christ. This is the gospel. This is the message, the word of reconciliation that we are to discharge in the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors.

Read the full message by John MacArthur here.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20