Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Identity in Christ, Part 3


(If you haven't read Parts 1 and 2, please scroll down and read them before beginning Part 3)

Continuation of ways we can be identified with Christ:

3. A heart through which Christ loves.

First of all, our greatest love should be for the Lord. Jesus himself said that this was the first and greatest commandment. (Matt. 22:37-38)

When we think about what God is like and what He has done for us, we should love Him even more. The more we love Christ, the more that love will overflow to others.

This goes back to dying daily to self.

I must CHOOSE to love others! I John 4:20, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Verse 21 goes on to tell us, He who loveth God loves his brother also.

Someone once said, "If we all obey the royal law, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself', there would be no need for any other laws."

Some things love is not:
jealous
hostile
arrogant

Love does not act unbecomingly
Love does not seek it's own
Love is not easily provoked
Love does not hold grudges
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness


Some things love is:
patient
kind
considerate
gentle


Love lifts others up
Love seeks to serve, not to be served
Love covers a multitude of sins (forgives)
Love seeks to reconcile others with the Lord
Love remains steadfast under suffering and hardship


What does love look like?
Love looks like Jesus!

God commands us to love others and that includes our enemies and the unlovely. God's love is not a feeling, but an action. It is a choice!

The word "LOVE" is over-used and misused these days. People love people as long as they get something in return, or as long as the other person is pleasing them, doing things "their" way, etc. That is not love. Love is unconditional. Love is even when that person gets under your skin and on your nerves, you choose not to forsake them, and you choose to do them good anyway!


I have gotten to the point that I feel like when I tell someone I love them, I need to explain what that means to me. Do some studying on love; know what love really is; know what God says about this precious word.... God's love will make a difference in how you love others!

And finally...

4. To be identified with Christ, We need to have hands through which Christ helps.

When I begin to love others the way Jesus loves me, I will begin to understand unconditional love. This unconditional love will change me. Not only will I be able to tolerate people I once couldn't, I will find myself being good to them.

We are not saved by our good works; we are saved to do good works.

Matthew 5:16 is one of my favorite verses. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

When helping and serving others, we should have the right attitude and motive. Ask God what you should do. Love is the key to doing good and serving. We make many choices each day from the time we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night. Some things we choose doesn't matter. ( I gave the example of me in the paper towel aisle at the store. I stand there for several minutes looking for just the right print! The print really is not all that important.)

I want to encourage you to purpose in your heart and make up your mind to choose daily to be identified with Christ, to be more like Him.

Choose to be your best for Christ.

Choose:

Godliness over worldliness- Faith over unbelief- Hope over hopelessness- Giving over greediness- Praise over complaining- Courage over fear- Freedom over condemnation- Obedience over rebellion- Forgiveness over unforgiving- Prayer over worry- Love over hate- Joy over unhappiness- Gentleness over harshness- Kind and pleasant words over discouraging words.

Choose truth over untruths- Choose God's will over your will- Choose to make a difference in others

JOY = JESUS, OTHERS, YOU!

Choose to tell others.

Our works should come from a heart of love for Christ and a desire to obey Him. Galatians 6:10- As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

One word of caution: Let us not be so busy that we leave our first love. We must not be so busy that we neglect our personal relationship with God and our responsibilities to care for our husband and children. We need wisdom from God to know how to balance our service.

My mother is a fine example of serving others as well as always balancing that service. She never neglected my daddy or me. She served others on a regular basis by sending cards to the sick and bereaved, and by blessing them with a meal or dessert.

Have you ever said or heard someone say..."I meant to." "I thought about it." I can think about cooking meals for my family, but if I don't put action behind it, my family will go hungry.

THE SMALLEST DEED IS GREATER THAN THE LARGEST INTENTION.

Examples of ways to serve: cards, calls, food, kind word, smile, pat on the back, hug,....

You will end up being the one that is blessed by serving. Serving is addicting and contagious!

I pray you have been blessed by reading "Our Identity In Christ"

I desire to be more like HIM!

2 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Thanks so much for sharing this series with us. I'm sure that the ladies you spoke to received a blessing! :)

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Liesa,
Thanks for taking time to give us your ideas from the ladies day out! I was really anxious to hear how things went. Sounds like it was a great time. Only wish I had been there!

God bless,
Marilyn