|"Jesus vowed to lay down His life for us. He asked us to do the same for others."|
The devil knows what bugs us. GOD KNOWS WHAT BLESSES US. Here are two opposite perspectives. We are told to be like Christ, to do what Jesus would do, to walk in the Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit, and we commit ourselves to it. But what perspective do we choose when viewing others? Who has our focus? Do we see what bugs us in that person or what blesses us? Do we desire the best for them or are we instead full of complaints?
A simple example. Social media and secular product reviewing systems are not there for us to behave like the unsaved world. < Insert knuckle crack. > “Now, I can vent.” No. The self-control (one of those Spirit fruits) we are supposed to exercise in person also applies online. In fact, it is to be a controlling feature of who we are. God is love. So we walk (behave) in love.
My mom used to say (and probably your mom), If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all. And as cliché as that has become, it holds true. When it comes to people, we are to look exactly like Jesus. He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We read this as His vow to lay down His life for us. But He was asking us to do the same for others. The apostle Paul sat in prison wishing for heaven, yet he vowed to stay on earth in order to give the church more joy.
We must change our gut reaction. I spent years in bitterness, pushing back in anger at everything and everyone that set me off. Although the gospel held me in check, there were things I would not allow myself to do, I became a very angry person. Then one morning, I felt the love of God on a scale that is unimaginable, and I’ve never been the same. Every single person on this earth is loved by Him to His uttermost, to His deepest. Look at them and see who God wants them to be. Think of them in the joys of heaven with a smile on their face because they have gained it and push yourselves toward that image.
To that place where you see people and you see Him. To where love is the initial output of your being, and you’re not struggling to love anymore. If anger is an issue, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you with it. We continue to fight against things, often, because we don’t ask Him to change us. That is one thing He does continually in us. We submit to God first then we resist the devil. The submission is vital. Because I have made Jesus Lord, because I commit to submit to the Spirit, I don’t do what my flesh and my unrenewed mind ask. An unrenewed mind simply means your thinking is stuck in the devil’s thought pattern. You’re still focused on what bugs you … about yourself, about others.
It takes effort to change, and yet once you begin to change, the Spirit begins to flow from you, and you can’t believe how easy it is. There is the key. We do not walk alone. We do not make these changes alone. We are saved by grace. We are changed by grace. The Law of the Old Covenant was fulfilled. We don’t earn our salvation anymore. But we trust God for it, and His power in us does what we cannot possibly do on our own, and God gets all the glory.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:21-24)
Suzanne D. Williams, Author