Thursday, February 13, 2014

Who Should I Love?

With Valentines Day approaching us tomorrow I thought the timing of God showing this to me was impeccable. Since the holiday is to celebrate love, I think it is important to realize we ALL have people to love in our lives- regardless of if we are in a relationship or not. You see, we find it easy to love people who are good to us, are like us, do what we want when we want, etc. but we are commanded to love these other people as well. Who are these people you ask? Keep reading.

First, as I have already pointed out on several previous posts, we are commanded to love our enemies.  
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Matthew 5:44
 I know I keep reiterating that but I think we need to be reminded of this fact often. (Maybe I keep repeating it for my own benefit, cause I know I need reminded.:) )

Anyway, as I was reading my Bible last night, (I am currently going through the book of 1 Corinthians) I came across these verses,
 "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world." (1 Corinthians 5:9-10)
"Since then you would need to go out of the world." Here is where my mind begin to question. But before I could truly understand this verse I needed to look up the definations of some words to be sure I was on the right track. Covetous- I knew what that one meant- when you want something that you don't have, typically something that someone else has that you do not. Check! Next word. Extortioners- Merriam-Webster defines extortioner as someone who gets money from another by using force or threats. Okay! Next word. Idolaters- Merriam- Webster defines it this way, "a person who does not worship the God of the Bible". While this is correct, we must also realize that if we put things before God, those things are considered idols as well.( See Colossians 3:5; Luke 16:13: and others.) Now that I am sure I am understanding all the words in this verse correctly, let's go back to that first thought "Yet I certainly did not mean with the _______ people of this world,.....,since then you would need to go out of the world." INTERESTING. Let's keep reading!
"But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner- not even to eat with such a person." (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Humm! Now we have two more new words added, reviler & drunkard. Let us double check to be sure we understand. Reviler-someone who reviles. Hahaha! Seriously? Okay, so reviles! Reviles- according to Merriam-Webster again, to speak about someone or something in a very critical or insulting way. OUCH!! Do not like that one! And we all know what a drunkard is, someone who is drunk or who often gets drunk. So lets put it all together.

God is telling us, if we are believers, He has not put us in this world to set ourselves "above" people who do these things. He did not put us here to "avoid" these type people. We are supposed to fellowship with other believers, I understand this, but we must be careful not to utterly surround ourselves with nothing but, other believers. If we did this, who could we be showing Jesus to? I understand that we are to be set apart and to not partake in events or activities or behaviors that God commands us not to, I understand that completely. (that is a whole different lesson for a different time) But what we must also remember is Jesus Himself made a POINT to go out of His way for the worldly, outcast, undesirables & He was condemned for this! Look at these examples:

"On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." (Mark 4:35) "Then when they had come to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and not one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains." (Mark 5:1-4a) (If you continue reading this chapter you will see this is the story of the man possessed by demons, named Legion- but I want for you to catch something very important here so lets skip down some.) "Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." (v.15) "And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." (v.18-19)
Here is what I want for you to see- Jesus went OVER THE SEA for ONE MAN!!!!!!!! 

The people in the town seen what Jesus did and wanted Him to leave. Next example:
 "Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to  call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Mark 2:13-17)
See where Jesus' heart is???? Again He was condemned. This time by "the religious people". One more example. I want to make sure you are getting this.
"A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink. For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." (John 4:7-9) (Continue reading the story and all that Jesus did- now skip down to verse 27. "And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman....."
Jesus disciples even wondered why He did the things He did!

You keep reading in John 4 and the disciples talk among themselves and ask if anyone had gave Jesus anything to eat. He responds that He has food they do not know of. But then He makes these important statements that ties ALL this up, stay with me here!
"Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." ................ "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors." (v.34-38)
 God is telling us DO NOT AVOID REACHING OUT TO THOSE AROUND US! He even tells us to AVOID "a brother" who does the things we talked about above.(1 Corinthians 5:11) (Side note here: How many people do we surround ourselves with who are "brothers" and do these things??? Just a thought! One of those words up there even made me have to do a bit of confessing!) God would rather us love the lost than associate with fellow believers who have the same behaviors! Friend, God wants us to LOVE those who have not come to know Him, that THRU US they might see Jesus!

So how are we doing? If Jesus was right beside us, walking and talking on earth in human flesh, would we be the ones looking down on the people that Jesus was reaching out to? This Valentines Day I challenge you. Show love, in some small tangible way, to someone you know is not a Christ follower. Whether it be a phone call to see how they are doing, dropping by for a visit, taking them for coffee at a restaurant, WHATEVER.You could even stand be standing in line somewhere (be it at a convenience store and they have a candy bar and drink or at a fast food restaurant and they order a burger and fries)  and just randomly pay for the person's stuff behind you! (-Be sure you tell them that Jesus Loves them!) (And don't give me that, I CAN'T AFFORD THAT junk cause how much at the most would that stuff cost?? $5? Give me a break! :) )

Bottom line- JUST SHOW LOVE! Let Jesus be their Valentine! <3

I would love to hear how you decide to show love! Share below....

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