Do you ever feel like you will never be able to love everyone as God commands? Yes, I am seriously asking this question. And I have an inkling that I am not the only one who feels like this from time to time. (Wink, Wink)
God is Love.
He just loves us. I know you have heard this probably a million times, but I am going to tell you again if you are reading this and you haven’t heard this ever. God loves our messy, our ugly, our selfish, our entitlement, okay our sometimes bossy selves. (I threw that last one in for myself). Seriously, though, we can all be real “pieces of work” most days . And our Sovereign Lord still loves us.
So I ask, why is it so difficult for us to love others?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a doctor, I just play one on television.”? Many actors like George Burns, Morgan Freeman, and even Whoopi Goldberg have portrayed God in film and television. Humans, acting like God. You and I friend, sometimes act like God. I know that might be hard to hear, however, we truly do, trying to be the directors of the show. Not so much our Heavenly Father’s Will for us. Take One. God’s show; not ours.
My Friend, we are not God. We are not running the show.
Turning our lives over to God’s care as believers makes Him the director of our lives. We give total control to God who makes decisions because he loves us unconditionally. We did nothing to earn or deserve His love. His Will for us is to trust him. So we must get humble, make ourselves “right-sized” before we can even begin to try to love as God commands.
Romans 12:12 gives us three positive action steps to take when we need to find the strength to love when we really don’t feel like it. Along with many Bible verses, these action steps come in handy for this application, but also for any other times I need a little encouragement to move forward in action.
Let’s look at each step:
Be Joyful in Hope: God is our hope. He is enough. We can have hope in Him as Galatians 2:20 reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We, who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have the Holy Spirit living in us. We can have faith that because God is living in us we will find His love within us to be able to love others. Be Joyful in the hope, the beautiful hope that our loving Father is constantly forgiving and forgetting our sins.
Patient in Affliction: I have to admit this is the hardest step for me, I am not a patient person. God is going to help us out here, don’t you worry yourself, it’s just going to be in His timing. I have to remind myself of this frequently.
Remembering what a loving, patient God we worship allows us to find patience in difficult times. “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)
So what will we do during this time? We will be faithful. We will get out of ourselves, because isn’t that where our heads really are when we say to ourselves, “I can’t love them!” It’s time to think and do for others, not a time to sit around and be victims.
I honestly believe when we stop thinking about what was said or done to us and get out and do for others a transformation takes place in our hearts. Not over night, be patient. Our hearts will soften.
The Bible has tons of verses to turn to on practicing patience. Here are a few of my favorites:
Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord;be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:32: “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”
Psalm 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Finally, Faithful In Prayer: Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Take your struggles to Jesus in prayer friend. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached about praying for our enemies, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Prayer is powerful.
Paul’s letter in Romans 12 was to provide believers with instructions on living a Christian life daily, which is living love. We are called to love. And wouldn’t this crazy world we live in be just a little bit better if we, as believers in Jesus Christ followed His example? I know I have more work to do in this area.
Practice, not perfection my friends. I totally get it. Have hope in Jesus, patience in affliction, and always, yes always pray. Oh, and Love one Another as Christ First Loved Us! We can do this, God’s got our backs!
PS: Just a little reminder, God did get just a tad bit upset with the Israelites a time or two, even then He loved.
I would love to hear from you. What topics would you like to read about in upcoming blogs? Is there a particular book of the Bible you would like to study? I can’t wait to hear from you.