This question stemmed from an expert of the Law who had asked Jesus how he could obtain eternal life, and where could it be found in the Law. Jesus recited Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18…basically saying, love God and love your neighbor. But the man wasn’t satisfied with the answer, and wanted Jesus to be more specific as to just who ” his neighbor” was. In other words, he was asking – what is the bare minimum requirement of who represents “my neighbor”. In most of our minds,” our neighbors”, are anyone in close proximity to us…either by blood or bond. But Jesus wants us to realize that “our neighbors” go far beyond mutual ties of kinship or nation. Our love and concern for one another should be pro-active…not passive or stingy, and should extend far from our imagined boundaries of just who “our neighbors” are.
Discipline is earnest correction which leads to education. As parents, we always wish our kids wouldn’t have to learn things the hard way. So training and instruction is for their benefit, not us just trying to be mean. The same goes for our Heavenly Father. We learn much from adversity…we discover just how strong we are, and are able to realize the true depth of God’s love and mercy for us . Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Remember that our loving and ever watchful Heavenly Father is wanting only the best for us when hardships head our way.
I praise You Lord. For when I am weak, You are my source of power. When I am frail in mind and spirit, You support me and give me endurance. When I feel feeble and ready to give up, You reinforce my backbone and give me toughness to move ahead. In Exodus 15:2 it says, “The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.” I will make music in my heart, for You have given me victory on all sides. Amen.
The next time you’re in a heated debate, take notice of your body language. Are your arms tightly crossed over your chest? You’re being defensive and resistive to the person and words that are being spoken to you. Are you shaking your head ” No “as someone is speaking to you? You’re not listening, but rather formulating what you want to say in response as soon as that person takes their next breath. This scripture shows that the art of communication is listening deliberately, speaking carefully, and not allowing knee-jerk reactionary anger to prevail.
We are the crown of God’s creation…created uniquely and distinct from the rest. We were created in God’s image…righteous and pure. But that all changed in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve decided they knew more than God. And from then on, mankind has connived, conspired and contrived hair brain schemes…thinking we too know more than God.
Jesus was explaining to Simon Peter that the number of times we need to forgive one another is just arbitrary. It’s not about keeping a score card on that other person…for the act of forgiveness not about them at all. Forgiveness stems from the unlimitless capacity to forgive that Jesus first showed us while we were still sinners. So as Christians, we are compelled to show each other the same kind of forgiveness…for forgiveness comes out of love for the Lord and each other. The act of forgiveness is for our benefit, not others. For if we allow unforgiveness to fester inside, blame escalates, and with it, growing bitterness, which leads only to spiritual blight.
God’s mission is our mission. But sometimes we need to reclaim and recommit to that calling we made so long ago. Too many of us live in a world of comfortable Christianity. We’ve found this niche of self contentment in our walk with the Lord…we’ve plateaued and become lukewarm in our passion and dedication. So what can we do to rekindle the flame that once burned so bright for the lost? We can begin to live a missional life…one that is dedicated to spreading the Gospel to those God brings across our path…looking for opportunities to speak life into those lives that are lost. Reclaim God’s mission in your life today and see what can happen.