"Thoughts along the Narrow Path"



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"If I speak with human eloquence and anglic ecstasy, but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." -

(1 Corinthians 13: 1- 7)

In an earlier blog post, titled "Understanding the Sacrifice of Jesus", I explained that Jesus came to earth for a couple of reasons. One of those reason, as I explained, was for him to die on the cross, in order to cleanse the whole world of our sins, to allow us to get into heaven.

However, as I mentioned, that was not the only reason he came to earth. He also came to earth in order to teach us, and to set an example. You could say those are two separate reasons, but to be, they are both connected.

If you read the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Bible, you will get the story of Jesus's life and ministry, from four different perspectives. There is a very good reason that his story needs to be available to us from more than one viewpoint. His life was the very example that we, as Christians, are supposed to follow.

A few quick things to note....

  1. Jesus did not shun, or put down people who were sinners. Whether they were prostitutes, tax collectors (think of it kind of like mafia types and loan sharks, only legal and working for the government.... so the I.R.S. (Sorry. I couldn't resist. It is only a joke, not meant to be offensive), or whatever. Over and over again, Jesus walked right up to these obvious sinners, and smiled, and taught, and blessed, and treated them with love and kindness. Through that love and kindness, many of those sinners stopped sinning, and turned to him.
  2. The only time that Jesus really lashed out in anger, is when he was in the temple, and was angry about the way they had turned such a holy place of God, into a market, and den of greed and sin. In essence, the only time Jesus REALLY got angry, was AT THE CHURCH! At the leadership, who were preaching God's word... while not following it.
  3. Whenever Jesus was stressed, he would pray, and trust in God to guide him.

THIS is how we, ourselves, should behave.

1. We should be the ones who show love to everyone around us, INCLUDING those that are obviously sinning. It is only through kindness, and compassion for those around us, that we can ever hope to lead people to the love of Jesus Christ. We are called to demonstrate that love to the world. Yet, too many people who call themselves "Christians", choose to spew hate, and anger. Calling people who sin in ways different than they, themselves do, horrible names, and stirring up trouble. All this does is give ammunition to Satan, when he whispers in those people's ears about how "horrible" and "judgmental" all of the Christians are. Don't get me wrong. I will be the FIRST person to say I don't always practice what I preach. I am not perfect, by ANY stretch of the imagination … but I do try. And if I catch myself treating someone poorly, I make a point to ask both God … and that person that I've mistreated … for forgiveness.

2. While we should show love to all around us, even our enemies, we should hold the church leadership to a higher level, and expect more from them. When they disobey God, whether through adultery, or inexcusable divorce (I'll get into that one in an upcoming blog post), or whatever heinous sin they commit, they SHOULD be held accountable. If you are going to stand in a leadership role, and lead a church or congregation, then you should be putting forth EVERY effort to follow God's instructions, and stay away from such things. I'm not saying they should be expected to be perfect. I'm certainly not saying that if they admit what they've done, genuinely repent, and work on correcting it, that they should be permanently banned from church leadership. I'm saying that they should accept the punishment that fits what they've done, and they should have to be honest, and genuine, and regret DOING it ... not just getting caught.

Anyway, I'm getting a little bit away from the topic. I'll come back to this in a future blog as well. For now, hopefully you get the point.

3. Whenever we are stressed, or angry, or hurt, or sad, ... or happy, or joyous, or content, or WHATEVER, we should pray about it. We should ALWAYS praise Jesus for the many blessings in our life, and always pray for MUCH more than ourselves. Pray for our family, our friends, our city, our country, and our world. Pray for the mail person that delivers your letters, bills, etc. to your mailbox every day. Pray for your neighbors who blare their music at all hours of the night. Pray for that supervisor at your job that always makes everyone's day miserable. Pray for that person in that car that just cut you off on the highway. Pray for that smart-mouthed kid that insulted you. (I could do this all day. lol).

And after you pray ... take a deep breath, smile, and trust that God has got everything under control. No matter how bad things may seem right now, keep trudging along, and follow his guidance, and things will always get better. I'm living proof of that.

NOTE: At NO point in this, am I trying to even PRETEND I am great at this. I fail at it myself, all the time. But, when I fail, I ask for forgiveness, and ask God to help me do better.

So, the point of this blog post is this...

Jesus came to earth to die for all of us. However, for 33 years, he was here to LIVE for us. He was here to teach us, both in his words, and in his example. He was here to show us how WE are supposed to be. How many times does Jesus say we are to love one another?

1 Corinthians 13:13   (1st Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 13) says "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love".  (taken from the ESV Bible)

Love does not mean that you agree with everything someone says or does.

Disagreeing with what someone says or does, does not mean that you HATE them. (yes, that does include politics).

And just calling yourself a Christian, does not mean you are legitimately trying to follow God's word, or that you are righteous enough to judge that non-Christian for the particular way that they are sinning.

Love will always go farther towards bringing people to Jesus, than hate ever will.

God does not expect perfection. He only expects honest effort, and genuine love.

**Podcast coming soon**