Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Do I Reflect God's Love?

John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Have you ever heard the story of David Hampton? It's a true story, David Hampton was a con artist back in the eighties who scammed money out of the Manhattan elite by claiming to be the son of the actor Sidney Poitier. He had no real connection to Sidney Poitier, had no right to claim the title of his son but he did so anyway and several people believed him. When people fell for his scam it had the unfortunate side effect of reflecting on Mister Poitier. Everything he did reflected on the man he had no true connection with.

Likewise today there are many people who claim to be Christians, who say they are a Christian because they went to church once or they live in a”Christian” town or maybe they do go to church from time to time and sleep through the sermons! They are what we call “Cultural Christians”  - they know enough to talk the language of our faith, but they truly do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.  Yet, for most of the country, they are what people think of when they think of Christian. Everything they say or do reflects back on someone they have no true connection with.

Each of us is a witness for Jesus Christ. We have no say so in this, each one who claims to follow Christ is His witness. We can either be a good witness or a bad witness but we are His witness.

That is why the world is shocked when they meet someone who is truly a follower of Christ, who truly has been saved and is truly trying to live by His commands, especially this one in verse 34. The world is shocked by love: so we should go shock the world. Go out and show love to others.

Often we dismiss this idea by convincing ourselves that we already love others.  I mean we don't hate them, we're not actively trying to harm them, so then we must love them, right?  The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy. It's not that we hate others it is simply that most often we do not care about them at all.  When our relationships are filled with apathy then we do not care what effect our actions or our preferences will have on others. But when we replace apathy with love, when we love as God loves we are willing to sacrifice for those we love. We make compromises on our preferences without ever compromising the truth and we seek to do everything in a way that draws us closer together and closer to God.

If we want the world to see how much God loves them then we must love them. If we want the world to come to God's saving grace then when we must show them grace. The short answer to the question “Why should I love like God loves” is simply because Jesus told us to and He is our Lord, He is King, He is God and that should be enough reason for any of us!  However, God never tells us to do something without a reason behind it. God never tells us to do something that will not glorify Him or benefit our holiness. And notice in verse 34 Jesus said this is a command not a request.

It is by reflecting Him in our life, by reflecting His love in our actions, that others see Him and His love. Doing that glorifies God. Doing that leads to living holy lives, and doing that points people to salvation through His sacrifice and His grace.

Even through simple acts and changes of perspective we can show show God’s love. By intentionally choosing love over apathy, by deciding to be more welcoming to others even if that means making changes, not to what we teach, but to how we live out those teachings. By showing hospitality to our neighbors and kindness to our enemy.

Think about it for a moment. What would happen? Don’t think what would I get out of it, don’t think what would it cost me, but instead think what would God do through this? What happens when we truly reflect God's Love?  How could God work through you and me if we were intentional about showing His love to others this week?

To discover more, visit Oak Grove Baptist Church

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