Monthly Archives: October 2014

Loving Others Without Compromising Truth

As I take a brief hiatus (starting today) to rest and spend time investing in myself, my family, and my walk with Jesus, I have written a bit more content in this post for you to reflect over today and this weekend. Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!

______________________________________________________________

Did you know that God never forces anyone to repent or to accept Him? He’s not interested in oppressing people by forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. (Sin is what’s oppressive, but God sets people free.)

If God Himself wants people to choose Him for themselves with the free-will He gave them, then let’s allow them the opportunity to do just that without judgement. At the same time, we can obey His command by loving them (non-Christians and other Christians) through His grace regardless of their circumstances.

Today, we’ll discuss the idea of loving others as Christ loves them. In particular, we’ll look at how to love without compromising the truth found in God’s word simply for the sake of avoiding (what should be healthy) confrontation.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 ESV

Between love and truth there exists a very delicate balance. The world can be very quick to call a Christian out on their inability to love. And in truth, some Christians can often be over-zealous to cast the first stone in judgement. Because we are known by the way that we love others, love must always be at the forefront of our thoughts and actions. But at the same time, being loving does not include compromising the truth.

As Christians, we have the Bible as our guide, and it helps us to live life in a way that honors God. Truth is truth, and truth sets us free. We are commanded to love others in truth and in deed. If anyone that we know is caught in a sin, we must love them, beloved. But we must also love truth.

 How can we combine the two? We can first accept the person but not the sin. We can pray for the person’s heart through the intervention of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And we wait for the Lord to give us clearance to speak. Then, we can speak and share the truth of God’s word in love. There is a real art to this, beloved.

Trust in God and He will guide you while you continue to love this person. 

Real damage can be caused if someone that proclaims Jesus as King harshly speaks the truth found in His word to another living in sin. The manner in which the truth is communicated (either in arrogance, out of context, in the wrong season, or just meanly stated) can destroy a potential opportunity for a person living in sin to come to know God. For instance, the Bible is clear about abstinence and sexual purity prior to marriage, but such truth must be communicated delicately and with love to an unmarried person who is sexually active. No one wants to be judged, but when truth is spoken without love, feelings of judgement can easily be created.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5 ESV

As disciples of Christ,we are commanded to love so that others will see the love of God in us and want to draw closer to Him. We must must not focus on being right or proving a point at the expense of another. If anything that we say causes someone to run from God, creates bitterness and resentment towards the church, or invokes shame and condemnation, then we may really need to take a step back and evaluate whether we are truly loving this person through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

However, there is another side to this coin.

If we love others but avoid speaking the truth, is this really love? No, we really cannot have one without the other. Love must be rooted in truth, and truth must be executed in love. They mirror one another.

In the Bible, God is defined as love, but He is also truth. There is harm in loving a person but never addressing the sins causing destruction in their lives. To overlook blatant sin so that “everyone can just get along” isn’t really truth. It’s actually denial, deception, and a failure to recognize God’s law.

In this case where sin is habitually overlooked, people can feel accepted and loved, but they do not walk in truth and may perish.

The people in my life are a diverse group, ranging from those that deeply love Jesus and are mature in their faith to others that reject the existence of God, are apathetic to Christ, and are angry at Christians and the church. And I genuinely love each of these individuals. Do I want them all to experience the hope, joy, and eternal salvation that I have received by accepting Jesus and living through His grace? Yes, of course.

But will I judge them for hating God or rejecting what I believe? Absolutely not, because God is big enough to defend Himself. However, I do continuously seek the Lord about what to say to these individuals (and when to say it). After all, God’s will is for everyone to walk in truth, and truth brings freedom, the very reason that Christ died for us.

Love people just as they are (which is what Christ does for us). 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV

Pray for people (which is what Christ does for us).

“Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:34 NLT

And confront people with His truth at the right time (which is what Christ does for us). 

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 ESV

Who in your life have you failed to love because of what they believe or what they do? On the flip side, is there anyone in your life that you love but needs to hear truth?

Let’s love people in the same way that Christ loves us. To God alone be the glory!

Photo provided by: ringofhopecampaign

 

 

Advertisements

How to Know Who is Following Jesus

As raindrops landed against the glass of my patio windows this morning, the Lord and I began to discuss an interesting nugget of scripture found in John 13. I’ve read it plenty of times, but it carried a new and significant weight for me this morning. I hope that you will be encouraged just as I have been. To God be the glory!

Here is the passage in multiple translations:

 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” NLT

“….By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” NIV

“….By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NASB

This is powerful, beloved. But if we’re not careful, this life-altering instruction can be quickly overlooked.

Love is how you know a Christian. It’s how the world knows a Christian. It’s how all men know a Christian. It’s how everyone on this planet will know a Christian through the time Jesus Christ returns to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords – by the way we love.

God is love. As human beings, we are made in His image. Therefore we have been created to love and to be loved. Yet, we often do not love due to our sinful flesh. We hate, we create division, and we pursue malice and destruction in the lives of others.

Once we become Christians (by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior), we are called to love just like Him. Our sinful flesh is put to death and the Spirit of God is made alive in us. We are restored back into God’s initial, perfect plan for us – to love. We are called to love God and to love others, and we are to be loved by God Himself and by others. Can’t you see just how good and relational our God is?

Beloved, LOVE is our mark. It screams out to the world, declaring that we belong to King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the Great I AM. This is what sets us apart. And this is what draws people to Him.

With the power and authority that Christ has given me, I feel strongly compelled to share this message with you today: If you’re not loving others, you are not getting the message of Christ out to others. People aren’t hearing you. People don’t want to follow your life example, and they certainly don’t want to know and follow the God that you proclaim to serve.

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:19-21 ESV

Today I can speak about this authentically because I was one of these unloving individuals years ago.

We cannot judge other people, beloved. Jesus, who has the very authority to judge as the Son of God, didn’t even judge while He was here on earth. What in the world makes us think we can sit in place of the holy throne of God and judge the world (including other Christians)?

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.” Psalm 51: 7-9 NIV

We are given God’s word to discern right from wrong, to govern our lives in a manner that honors God, and to live the best life possible (i.e. the life He wants for us). As we study God’s word, we become very aware of how God intends things to be done and what behaviors or beliefs are sinful in His eyes. This is very good, because this is truth. And truth sets us free.

By applying this truth through the power of the Holy Spirit, strongholds can be broken and people can be released from bondage as they are led to repentance through the Holy Spirit. But we will not be able to facilitate this effectively in other people’s lives if we’re rejecting them, slandering them, criticizing them, judging them, or condemning them. This approach only produces heart-broken and calloused people with missed opportunities.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” Proverbs 10:12 ESV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” Psalms 51:10-13 NIV

We are conduits of God’s love, beloved. This means that people can be introduced to Jesus simply by the way that we love one another – this is our responsibility. However, it is not our responsibility to convict people of sin (because only God Himself can do this). We are also not responsible for people’s salvation, which is a personal choice between the individual and God. But we certainly can introduce them to Jesus by the way we love.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

Join us tomorrow as we discuss practical ways to obey Christ by loving others without compromising truth. Thank you for reading HDD today!

Are you currently a subscriber? We would love to have you! Click HERE and begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you!

Photo provided by: asanteafrica.files.wordpress.com

 

The Value of Wise Counsel

Wise counsel is a topic that stirs up a deep and vibrant passion within me. Because wisdom equips us to reject mediocrity while cultivating quality in our lives, I am convinced that Godly wisdom is the greatest indicator of how well one’s life will be lived.

Of course, this implies that one has already accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ invites us to accept a new life in Him, and the wisdom found in God’s word is what teaches us how to live out this new life.

Wisdom found in God’s word invites us into God’s way of thinking. 

Let’s see what the Word has to say about wisdom:

“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and discipline (implying we must seek it in order to gain it); for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion (good judgement) to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning (implying humility is wisdom, since one who is wise continues to be teachable), and let the discerning get guidance —for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:1-7

I’m not sure about you, but I want everything that wisdom has to offer: the discipline to do what needs to be done to reach my goals, the ability to understand words of insight, and the discernment to know what is right and wrong in this whirlwind of chaos called life. And I want to avoid senseless mistakes.

How is wise counsel related to wisdom? Wisdom comes from the Lord. Counsel is advice given to one person by another. Therefore, wise counsel is the advice or insight given to another person that is based on God’s truth. In order to be wise, counsel cannot be based on the limited understanding that man possesses. Instead, it must come from an infallible God who knows and understands all things. If the advice you’re receiving does not align with Scripture, then I would strongly encourage you to reevaluate your sources of insight.

What are sources of wise counsel in one’s life? The first source should always be the Wise Counselor. And I would encourage you to always go to Him first. Wise counsel can also come several different sources: the Word, your pastor, a mentor, your spouse, a close friend, a parent, or a therapist. Just make sure that whatever advice you receive is based on the Truth, because the Truth (not opinions) is what sets us free.

Let’s take a stroll through the Word to observe God’s take on this issue:

1. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs12:15

We need to be quick to seek insight from Godly counsel. It can save us from major heartache down the road.

2. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Humility is a prerequisite for receiving insight from others. Pride tells us that we already know everything and don’t need to listen to anyone.

3. “He walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

If you want to be wise, find wise people and spend time with them. You will learn a ton!

4. “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

Wisdom causes us to reevaluate how we spend our time, our money, our relationships, and our efforts.

5. “Plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs15:22

If we lean on our own understanding and refuse to seek counsel when faced with a dilemma, then we often end up making poor choices, especially if we lack experience. There is power in humbling ourselves and seeking help.

6. “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.” Proverbs15:31

We are wise when we allow people to confront us with God-given truth, even if it hurts.

7. “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:23

Wisdom must be in the heart (the wellspring of life) before it can be spoken through the mouth. We must pay attention to what people are advising us to do. And we need to carefully observe how they live their lives.

8. “The purpose of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5

When used by the Lord, wise counsel has a way of exposing the deepest issues within us. I often refer to this as purging our souls.

9. “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3

A wise person individual will heed to Godly counsel and seek the appropriate response in different situations. A foolish individual will continue doing what they’re doing and suffer the unnecessary consequences.

10. “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26

Trusting in ourselves alone is dangerous. We must seek His counsel and truth to direct our lives in order to dwell in safety.

May we all pursue lives of excellence with the aid of wisdom by seeking God first and being open to wise counsel from God-fearing advisers.

Application Questions

1. Who is the first person you often turn to when facing a significant decision? And is the counsel that you receive rooted in truth?

2. Can you think of two to five people in your life that can provide wise counsel? Who do you know that studies and applies God’s word in different areas of life (e.g. financial, marriage / relationships, parenting, therapy / counseling, ministerial / vocational decisions, and managing others)?

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? We would love to have you! Just click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox. Thank you!

Image provided by fineartamerica.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: