Happy Look Out For Someone Besides Ourselves Wednesday!
The Bible tells us to love one another and part of love is demonstrating the heart of the Father to others. I recognized years ago in my own walk in ministry that I grew to believe God loved the people I was ministering to more than me. It is untrue. Yet the lie grew from experiences with Christians. I was expected to give, to love, to pour out, to lay my life down, to be available in every crisis, to forgive, to show up even when I was overwhelmed or in my own crisis, to put myself last, to endure gross mistreatment with a smile, to be perfect, and they were not expected to do much.
I was expected to be Jesus. They on the other hand were not. I was to offer grace and mercy and give others unlimited access to my time and life.
The reciprocation of God love was low and sometimes non existent. I was expected to get love from God and show up again to pour out. I recognized I had to set limits with people. Say no to extra ministry tasks.
I found reciprocal relationships in the marketplace and through hobbies/outside the church activities. I thank God today there are a few reciprocal relationships with believers.
It is not true God desires one sided relationships for us. It is NOT true that God desires for us to love Him, then others, and ourselves last. Every time I see those bumper stickers, I want to rip them off. The Bible states we love because He first loves us. Then we are called to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Step 1. God loves us. Step 2. We RECEIVE God’s love for ourselves (we cannot give what we do not receive). Step 3. We give back to God and others the love we have first received from God.
Unselfish love-loving others without strings attatched and desire for selfish gain comes ONLY from God. It is agape love-the highest form of love. It’s the love Jesus invites us into so we represent His heart to the world. It is the love that marks His followers.
Pain and disillusionment can come when we expect agape from Christians who are incapable of returning agape. We can only give what we first possess. May we abide in agape (Jesus) so we demonstrate agape (Jesus) to others.
Love is not selfish.
I noticed people would and will ask things of me that they absolutely would be unwilling to do in return. I have heard more than one person tell me I was supposed to help their ministry or business, but God was not calling them to help me. Not that I asked them for help. I tend to ask God and ask Him who to ask for help. It saves me time.
At the root of all sin is selfishness and hyper concern for self. Self is the idol to be worshipped instead of God. What about me? Is the theme song.
I realized I would push myself almost to the point of breaking to keep my word, to be there for people who would not even pull their own weight or bother to show up. It taught me something. It taught me boundaries. It taught me to expect Jesus to be Jesus, and people to be people.
Expecting people to be like Jesus leads to disillusionment. I am still a work in progress, so is everyone else. Expectations can lead to unnecessary discomfort.
We, humans, can also have flawed visions of ourselves. I have met those who believe they are representing the heart of God, yet their primary focus is self: making sure their voice is heard, their ministry is supported, their needs are met, their political agenda pushed forward.
We imitate the God we know and at times treat people similar to the way we treat God. If God is only pursued to meet a needs list, then people treat other people like slaves too. Abiding in God love, which is not selfish, is the only way we manifest unselfish love.
When we can connect with people and love them NOT for what we can gain from them, that is real love God. Love fulfills the law because love does NO purposeful harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10).
We can only give away what we receive first from God. Jesus stated His followers would be known by their unselfish, sacrificial love (John 13:34-35). May we abide in His love, and love others not for our gain but for their blessing!
Look for someone to love today!!
God love wins!
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