Loving Like God Loves

from David Jeremiah
And the second [commandment] is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:39

Every organization has a way of identifying itself. Political parties, sports teams, fraternal organizations, religious groups, corporations—all develop ways of identifying themselves. And members or adherents adopt those means and make them universally known.

Jesus gave His disciples just such a “brand,” or identifying mark: love. In John 13:35, we have His words: “By this [sign] all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” But can’t love be found as a trait in many different groups in society? Yes, but perhaps not the kind of love Jesus’ disciples are to be marked by. In verse 34, Jesus made the love of which He spoke specific: “As I have loved you, that you also love one another.” In other words, it’s not just generic love—it’s a God kind of love: sacrificial, enduring, generous, and unconditional. When we love those around us as Christ instructed, we are manifesting God’s love in the world. As God has loved us, so we are to love one another (John 15:12).

Being a witness for Christ ultimately involves a retelling of the Gospel. But even before that opportunity, demonstrating God’s love can be a first step.

The world does not understand theology or dogma, but it understands love and sympathy.
D. L. Moody

Secret Service

from David Jeremiah
 Recommended Reading:
Matthew 6: 1 – 4
As we serve others, we are serving God. But if we’re eager for everyone to know how well we’ve served, how humbly we’ve helped, or how hard we’ve worked, our motivations are questionable. True humility serves quietly and finds satisfaction in serving as Jesus did.

Washington Gladden wrote a wonderful, though nearly-forgotten hymn, that says: “O Master, let me walk with Thee / In lowly paths of service free; / Tell me Thy secret; help me bear / The strain of toil, the fret of care.”

Perhaps even today, an occasion will arise for serving someone as a member of God’s Secret Service.

When we desire godly secrecy, love and humility before God will develop to the point we will not only see our friends, family, and associates in a better light, but we’ll also develop the virtue of desiring their good above our own.
Dallas Willard

He Who Has Ears…

from David Jeremiah

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5

Jae Kang Im ducked into a barber shop in South Korea. During the haircut, his stylist, Sun-ah, started talking about her troubles in life, especially the pain of growing up in an alcoholic and abusive home. Im wanted to share the Gospel with her, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain to his ear. The stylist had sliced into it, and the blood flowed in streams. The staff wanted to call paramedics, but Im reassured them he’d be fine. He told the stylist the pain with his ear was nothing compared to what she had experienced in her life, and she began to weep.

Recommended Reading:
2  Timothy 4: 1 – 5
Im left and tended to his ear, but that evening he returned just before the shop closed. He found Sun-ah and shared his testimony. He told her about Jesus, and the woman was wonderfully saved. “I thank God for using my ear to save one soul,” he said.[1]

Wherever we live and whatever happens to us, our goal is the same—to bring others to the saving knowledge of Christ.

There is no joy in the world like the joy of bringing one soul to Christ.
William Barclay

Counting the Cost

Dr. David Jeremiah

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 8:34 

Crucifixion was among the most horrific forms of death known in the ancient world. It was practiced by the Egyptians and others long before the Romans popularized it. So when Jesus spoke of the cross in His teachings on discipleship, the Twelve would have understood the reference. But they wouldn’t have understood the high cost involved until they witnessed Jesus taking up His own cross on Golgotha.
Long after connecting death with discipleship, Jesus made another reference on the night before His death: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). While many followers of Jesus have suffered death for His sake since, the apostle Paul explained how dying for Jesus applies to all: spiritual death when one dies to self and sin to identify with Christ (Romans 6:1-7). Even if one dies physically for Jesus, dying daily to self and sin is also a high price.

Jesus warned against not counting the cost of being His disciple (Luke 14:28-33), a cost that must be reckoned with daily.

Salvation without discipleship is cheap grace.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer