Monday, August 2, 2010

Love one another as I have loved you

Hello, I am so glad you have come back to A Good Bible Study!

Things always go better if we begin with prayer, so let's get the most out of our time together:

Lord, thank you for Your Bible. I am so glad we don't have to go through life wondering what is the right decision, worrying that we don't have all the answers, or expecting to enjoy our lives only when everything is going our way. Please give us the ability to love and to love well, today. If any of us is unsure of Your love, give it to us abundantly and let there be NO uncertainty about Your passion for our hearts! In Jesus' name, amen.

In The Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer, which inspired this study, we are asked to compare our lives with that of Jesus'. Now, I know, no one is going to measure up, so what's the point, right?

Jesus is not the standard by which God judges our worthiness. If that were so, we would all fail. Jesus led a perfect life and was completely blameless when He went to the cross. He did this for our benefit, not for His own. He did this knowing a sacrifice had to be made for all the sin, pain, anger, revenge and murder in our thoughts and actions and He knew none of us, not one, was capable.

Who else could be held accountable for all the ways we hurt each other and ourselves every single day, no matter what our good intentions? Only a perfect God who was free of sin. But think about it: If we cannot save ourselves, and cannot even spend more than a few seconds without in some way harboring selfish thoughts or resentments, then how in the world are supposed to ever deserve salvation (heaven)?

We don't deserve it. We can't. But, I'm so glad God does not judge us by our imperfect lives or expect us to live in perfection. Instead, He considers our hearts.

Let's be clear: we can't even get one foot in the door unless we first understand we are granted entrance because of His love, His worthiness, His payment of the price, not our own. People-focused religions tell us we must sacrifice and earn salvation, but God tells us it is His to give, not ours to earn.

So, ask yourself: am I even aware of my need for a Savior, since on my own I know I do not deserve salvation (living with God in heaven for eternity after an earthly life)?

And equally important: Have I accepted the gift of Jesus' sacrifice on my behalf? In other words, do I accept God's love? Read John 3:16; Galatians 2:19-21; 1 John 4:9-11; and John 15:12-13.

If you haven't been aware, until now, of your need for a perfect Savior and you haven't accepted Jesus' gift of His earthly death in exchange for your heavenly life, do it now:

"Jesus, thank you for paying the price that I deserve. I am so sorry that I have been living my life as if You were unimportant. You promise to forgive me when I ask, and I am asking. I want You to take over my life and fill me up with your Love. I accept your gift of salvation and I want to live in heaven when this earthly life is over. I know that you alone made it possible for me. In Jesus' name, amen."

If you prayed this prayer, the bible says that angels in heaven are rejoicing right now!! There is a party with your name on it in heaven - isn't that cool? If you want to find out more about being a Christian, follow this link to the Joyce Meyer website for scripture and resources. Welcome to the family!

Now, the question is, if we love God, does our life reflect that love by the way we treat others?

It's hard to know how to love, especially when most of the people we come across aren't always loveable. Luckily, we have a model. Pick one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and find some examples of Jesus responding with love. Record the verses that spoke to you, below:
_______________ _________________ _________________
_______________ _________________ _________________

When Jesus was attacked and criticized, He took his time to respond. He was thoughtful, using wise and kind words. He realized many people hurt others when they are scared, feel their beliefs or lifestyles are being criticized, have been hurt by others, or don't understand our good intentions. He responded based on His own integrity, not in reaction to the integrity of others.

When He was struck, He refused to strike back, instead telling His attackers that they didn't know any better, even praying for God to forgive. When asked for help, He found a way to do so, even if it meant traveling out of His way or changing His plans.

Jesus was kind to everyone, even those with whom He disagreed or meant Him harm. When others were hungry, He didn't evaluate their political beliefs before feeding them, or making sure they had warm clothing and shelter.

How does your daily behavior compare?

One thing I was reminded of by Joyce Meyer in The Revolution, was that in our society we are taught to value financial success, popularity, doing nothing unless it is great and powerful, seeking public praise for anything we accomplish, and being well-known and well-liked in our schools, community, and churches.

What does Jesus say is greatness? Read Mark 9:35

Commit to some ways you will seek to be "the greatest" in the Kingdom of God, as defined by Jesus:

How much of a struggle is this going to be? How will you respond when the opportunity to LOVE comes along and you really don't want to be inconvenienced?

Some good options are to pray and ask God to help you respond in love; be silent until you can respond in love; and apologize when you haven't responded in love (remembering you are really making an apology to God to whom you have committed to change, not to the person to whom you feel deserves no apology.)

Tell me how this message affected your life in the comments section. If you became a new Christian today, please share about that in the comments, as well! Love, Karen

Photo by Dan, courtesy of

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