Friday, March 24, 2017

Loving My Way Out

I've had a lot of repenting to do. 

That's why it's taken me a while to get through the humility section in the James study. Today, I finally reached the "prayer pause" for day seven. 

The passage of Scripture was from Philippians 2:5-8. (Here's the Leanna paraphrase) Jesus was in heaven, being God, and it was a fabulous life. However, mankind was in a mess and desperately needed saving. 

Jesus-God loved mankind so much that He did what had to be done. He emptied Himself of all His magnificance and became a man, which is a drastically lower creature. 

Imagine for a moment becoming a mouse or a dung beetle. Who would want to do that? No one. 

Becoming a man was even more drastic for Jesus.

Jesus didn't become a rich and powerful man. He became a bondslave kind of man. A servant. It was the lowest station possible, and He did it so that He could serve with love. 

He chose to demonstrate love, and He did it in stark contrast to typical human love.

Here's the hard part. We're supposed to love His way, too.

In medical school, we had a phrase that describes learning pretty aptly. "See one. Do one. Teach one." We learn by seeing and doing. When we can teach a skill, we know it well.

That's what Jesus expected. We "see" love in Him. We "do" love as He did it. We "teach" others by the effectiveness of our love-example.

I read this from the James study today and the words stabbed me in the heart: 

"He (Jesus) intended for us to love each other, and to do it in such a way that the world would be stunned by the depth of love we exhibited toward one another.

"Our love is supposed to be a living diorama to the lost and perishing people around us. A diorama of the love God has for the world. 

"The problem most of us have is not that we don't love those believers who are most like us. The problem is that we don't love those believers who are least like us, those "seekers" who are least like us." 


I'm the one. I'm the one who doesn't love enough.

I don't like this unlovely category I'm in at all. I want out of it. Today, I realized that the only way to change my "station" is to love my way out.

The picture, above, is of the doctors and one of the nurses who served in Ajloun, Jordan. They loved like Jesus loved. Ask anyone in Ajloun. Muslims and Christians alike told me that they loved everyone, regardless of station or religion.  

They showed the love of Christ to all because they loved as Christ loved. They left their important positions in their native countries and humbled themselves to do whatever was needed in Jordan. Their loved changed a major portion of the nation.

Our love, if it were Christ-love, could do that, too. IF.

Our love could become a living diorama to a lost and perishing world. IF we would do what we've seen in Christ. IF we would love everyone, regardless of our differences.

I've spent a bit of time pondering how it would look if I were a diorama of love.  

First, my attitudes would have to change. Then, I'd have to choose love as my first response. Not judgment. Not fear. Not criticism or pride or superiority.

I'd have to choose love. Every time.

What about you? What would it take for you to be a living diorama of God's love?

Let's give it a try. Today, let's choose love first, then keep choosing love. No matter what. 

When people think we're being naive or foolish, let's choose love anyway.

When there's the possibility that people will take advantage of our love, let's love anyway, for that's exactly what Christ did.

God knew we'd be extravagant with the grace offered us, yet miserly with the grace we give to others. He loved anyway.

So should we. Today, let's make a start.

Who's with me?

"This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." John 15:12 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Priority of People, Not Places

I'm sharing about my Jordan Journey at a brunch April 1 at 10:30-12 at Global Outreach home office, 74 Kings Highway, Pontotoc MS. Comment or message me if you'd like to come.

If God has called you to help with this ministry of digital and in-person outreach (both in the US and around the world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.