My wife was watching HGTV the other night (which is guy code for “Yes, I watched it with her”). Through a few episodes of House Hunters, a show where a person or a couple tours 3 prospective homes with a realtor, I couldn’t help noticing the abuse of the word “love”.
The people looking at the homes loved backsplashes. They loved crown molding. They loved the size of bedrooms and bathrooms and bathtubs. They loved lot-sizes and breakfast nooks and granite countertops. They loved man-caves and mom-caves and mudrooms.
It reminded me the word love is overused.
It will be overused today. You’ll probably hear “I love all this rain we’re getting” from someone.
It will be overused tomorrow. I know I’ll probably say, “I love fajitas” at some point this weekend.
Some have suggested upping the value of the word love when you want to express selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love by using the word “agape” instead.
I know if someone tells me they “agape me” it will weird me out a little bit.
We struggle sometimes with the notion that we can have an intimate relationship with God. Maybe it’s because He is the creator of the universe…so why or how could He be intimate with us? Maybe it’s because we don’t spend enough time with Him to have an intimate relationship? Maybe it’s just because we don’t trust Him at the end of the day to really be the priority in our lives? Regardless of the reason, the Bible makes it a fact that God is intimate, personal, and more loving towards us than anyone else.
If we remind ourselves of the Gospel each day…that Jesus has forgiven us for all past, present, and future sins, and that we are now righteous in God’s eyes because of what Jesus has done, that is a great start to having an intimate relationship with God. We need to read the Bible and pray regularly with our heavenly Father.
I know those things will produce a closer relationship with Jesus, but I really think most of the time we aren’t intimate with Him is because we just don’t believe He can be intimate with us. We forget what He has really done for us and how He treated people Himself. I believe that if we can remember what Jesus has done and how He loved people, we would believe more often that we really can have an intimate relationship with Christ.
Here are 2 examples of Jesus’ intimacy towards us that we can learn from:
Encouragement is something that I think is underestimated most of the time. It seems to be something we can all agree is a “good thing,” but we don’t often make a practice of it. In the life of the Christian, someone who follows Jesus, why is encouragement so important?
When we encourage others, we’re placing our confidence in what Jesus has done. Out of an overflow being forgiven and made righteous through Christ, we are able to truly encourage and build one another up to love and good works because the war is already over. In any battle or circumstance we find ourselves or others in, if the war is already won, it changes your perspective to be able to encourage someone at all times.
When our lives are not marked by encouragement, God is not our top priority. At the end of the day, if we constantly walk around discouraged then I would say we have forgotten our first love, who is Jesus. I’m not saying we don’t walk through tough times and go through suffering, but what carries us through those times? If it isn’t Jesus, then we aren’t making God first in our lives.
Who can you encourage today?
Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on encouragement:
I never really grew up in the Church. Yes, I technically was an alter boy and was in the Catholic Church off and on, but I seemed to miss out on a lot of things that I’ve learned over time was “just the way it was” back in the day in the Church. Things like a Gospel glove, Sandi Patty, and rededication.
No offense to those who’ve used a Gospel glove or who have jammed out to Sandi Patti…those are great conversations for another day, but for this one, let’s talk about the rededication part.
There are a lot of people walking around confused or not sure of their salvation. Many are still looking for hope and satisfaction even though they would proclaim they follow Jesus. Why is this? Where is the confusion? Is it wrong to be sure of your salvation?
I don’t want to come across like I have never questioned this myself…for sure I have, but it doesn’t last long and if it did, it would drive me crazy. I don’t want to knock rededication in terms of someone who is wanting to draw near to Christ, but I’m talking more about someone who wants to “rededicate” and get “saved again.” Here are ways we can be SURE we have obtained salvation through Jesus Christ, for those who follow Him.
The Bible Doesn’t Lie
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:13
The Bible doesn’t lie to us. God doesn’t lie to us. It says as clear as day – if you believe in the Son of God (Jesus) you may know that you have eternal life. Boom! There it is! So when someone says, “how do you know you are saved?” or “are you sure you’re going to heaven?” you can actually say yes because you believe in Jesus Christ.
Reflect has been a word this year that has stuck out to me more than anything else. I think God has been leading me to reflect on Him more often for many reasons, including the fact that I am always going from one thing to the next. When I live that way, I often miss the point and miss out on what’s really important.
One definition of reflect is to “think deeply or carefully about” something. I think that’s a really fitting description of what I’ve needed to do this year and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. After all, we should think deeply or carefully about Jesus and what He has done for us. What else is more important?
Here’s 3 reasons we need to reflect on Jesus:
Reflecting Causes Us To Slow Down
I know I’m not the first person to experience or think that our culture is crazy fast paced! We’ve all experienced it and you might even be experiencing it right now as you skim through this blog post. Maybe you have 30 tabs opened up on your browser or phone? Either way, we often times go from one thing to the next without even taking a second to breathe, but is that healthy?
Let’s take coffee for example, we can go the Keurig route, or the Chemex route.
God has been working on me with this passage lately in many areas, especially within community with others. I think typically in my past I have started reading passages like this and I immediately think “yea, yea, faith and works, both are important and needed” and just move on. I wouldn’t take the time to slow down and really read the passage. This time is a little different.
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” -James 2:14-17
Most of us as believers would more than likely never admit that we would just tell a poor person “Jesus loves you” and move on, but is that what we are doing?