Have you ever asked, or been asked, this question? If we are honest, I think we all have asked this question at one time or another.
Jesus himself asked this question to His disciples: Then love was reinstated!
“When they (the disciples) had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again, Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:15-17, NIV).
Love is expressed by our Actions
When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He wanted him to respond from his heart, not just with words. Jesus explained that love is expressed by our actions. When we “truly love” with our entire personality, it includes our mind, will and emotions – our entire person!
Feeding His lambs and taking care of His sheep requires love put into motion. His point: when we ‘truly love’ Him, we reach out to others.
People without the Lord need to be fed. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He implies we are to feed (spiritually and, sometimes, physically) His lambs, those younger in their faith, His little lambs and His sheep. Shepherds take care of their flock – young and old!
Remember, Peter denied Jesus three times before He was crucified. So, Jesus is not only reinstating Peter but He was healing and restoring him.
True lovers of God
You see, Jesus desires us to be true lovers of God. To be so full of love that compassion and mercy flow out of every fiber of our beings.
-This kind of love compels us to go where others will not.
-This kind of love sees the hurting, feels for the lonely, clothes the naked and visits the sick.
-This kind of love not only sees and feels but does something to change their situation!
-It’s the kind of love the Father desires, not only desires, He requires!
What is God requiring of you? How is he using you to release His love? To what area of life or ministry are you called?
If you are unsure, I recommend a “Spiritual Assessment” test, to help identify your gifts and strengths. An indication of this is usually where your passions are!
True lovers of God are passionate about what they believe and how they share those beliefs. They are passionate visionaries that bring change to lives and are forerunners to implement that change. Their love for God is so great, nothing will satisfy the hunger but more of Him!
Make a Resolution
Refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting or faithless worrying.
Instead, implement Isaiah 58:6-7 into your life. Then watch and see God minister through you. You are His hands and feet:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Looking a little closer…
-How can you loose the chains of injustice? Release someone who is being treated unfairly or unjustly.
-Who is in chains (bondage) that you could help? Work to reverse their unjust treatment.
-How can you feed the hungry and clothe the naked? There are plenty of opportunities in our own neighborhood and around the world. Start your own ministry by doing just that!
Sometimes our opportunities are in our family, our church or at work. There are so many in need. We can ask God to open our eyes and allow us to see as He sees. We can’t meet every need, but we can ask God for one, for our assignment!
Consumed with our own mess
When we are consumed with our own mess, we miss the need of another and miss His command of love one another! Let’s be intentional about serving the Lord and helping those in need.
When we obey the Lord, He rewards. He promises to give back. However, our motivation to give should NEVER be to receive. It is MORE blessed to give than receive!
Here’s what happens when we do obey:
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing quickly appear;then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8, NIV).
Having the Lord’s glory as our rear guard is having Him surround us with Himself – His presence. Glory!
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say; Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:9-11, NIV).
Let the Living Water – Jesus – be poured out through your life. It will stop the cycle of thoughtless living and regretting what you did or did not do – because you will see the lives God changed through you because you refused to waste your time!
The precious time you are given here on earth is for God-ordained living! Let Him live and love through you! You will never be the same, as He changes you from glory to glory!
Embracing God-Ordained Living,
~Mary Beth Pecora