Loving others doesn’t come naturally to me.
Ask me to pump their tires, empower them to reach their dreams [heck, even help equipt them with what they need!], see their strengths, and I’m all over it, like a wet rag to a spill. Perhaps it was my mom, always telling me to reach for the moon, because even if I miss, I’ll still land among the stars.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:5-8
But the other stuff, like – reaching out those hurting , embracing difficult people with a smile on my face and a gentle demeanour, taking onus in giving or acting when someone shares their struggles and needs, giving of my “me time” to someone else, who perhaps needs it more- the washing people’s feet stuff- doesn’t innately come to me. it’s a daily battle- a conscious decision to pray for my eyes to be open to opportunities to love others, for my heart to be humbled in servanthood and that God would create in me a new earnest way of being- of living and loving without thinking. Because truth is I’m selfish and proud by nature.
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
I stumble on a daily basis and while most days, I’m quick to ask for forgiveness, asking God to give me what I need to love others and do it with joy, there’s other weeks where I let my selfish ways slip. And before I know it, I’m overwhelmed, anxious and grumpier than a bear woke from his slumber. Guilt sets in and instead of falling to my knees, I press on thinking the problem is others and life’s circumstances. I know full well it’s not and the problem’s me. But every once in a while, It “feels good” to let my flesh win.
But like any sin, whether its the aftermath of gorging on a pint of ice cream or holding a grudge against a friend or family member who’s hurt me, the “justified feelings of good” wear thin quickly. And the more we grow in our faith, the clearer we see Gods face and hear his voice, the faster the luster fades.
You have never been tempted to sin in any different way than other people. God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted more than you can take. But when you are tempted, He will make a way for you to keep from falling into sin. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13
For me, that realization is beautiful. It’s a clear, measurable reality that proves how good, loving and PATIENT our father is. He promises to finish the work he’s started in us.
So rather than letting Satan have those moments- [those days and even weeks]- rather than feeling bad about ourselves or allowing thoughts like, “and you call yourself a Christian?! God could never use a person who’s like that! You’re a hypocrite.” I pray we would instead see God’s grace and favour. That we would hold on to his promises and know with all certainly we are loved and made clean.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. ~ Romans 3: 22-25
Because Truth be told, we’ve all come a LONG way and everyone struggles in one way or another. All sin is equal. We may not be where we need to be, but thank the good Lord we’re not were we used to be! Like climbing a mountain, some things, especially the ones worth conquering, take time!
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ ” and you forgave the guilt of my sin Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ~ Psalm 32:5, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1