This week I have been reading in 1 John. The verse below makes understanding and reflecting Jesus’ love very simple in concept.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16)
But living out this verse, truly laying down our lives for the brothers, is more than a concept. It is costly and it varies from culture to culture and person to person.
Re-read this verse and take a few moments to think about it. Pray and ask the Lord for ideas as to what this might mean for you. Then do what you and the Lord think is right to serve someone or a group.
May each of us reflect the heart and example of Jesus who demonstrated love by laying down His life for us.
“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isa. 66:2)
God is not impressed by good looks, wealth, intelligence, education, strength, or any other trait or accomplishment we humans esteem. We strive for these things. We look to one another by comparison to see if we look better, are in better condition, have accomplished more, have more wealth, bigger houses and so on. We look at the outward appearances and accomplishments.
But God looks at the heart and He knows. He knows what is in our hearts. He knows our motives, our character and what is important to us. He knows.
This verse gives me a priority on something different than the world around me. The goal or priority of humility before God and respectfully ingesting and obeying His Word.
No matter what my circumstances, accomplishments, or talents, I do have the choice. This verse shows me what is important to God – humility, contriteness and trembling at His Word.
Recently, I did some training on Leading Like Jesus while meeting with leaders from Central Asia. One delegate came up after a session with tears in her eyes and said, “We have only known the ‘Pharisee-way’ in our churches. We thought it was right because everyone used this method. Now we see a different model. This is so freeing.”
We remain amazed at how the Spirit regularly brings repentance when leaders see themselves in the Pharisees and ‘see’ what Jesus thinks of it. They often go through some brokenness in how they have failed Jesus as leaders. This often results in a heart to follow His model.
We praise Him for His patience with us as we seek to more closely align ourselves with His ways.
Jesus came for people from every tribe, nation and peoples. Some of His last words to the Disciples reflect this heart and provided clear focus for their actions.
Jesus said, “… that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)
Take a moment to ask Abba how He wants you to focus some of your actions toward peoples of the nations.