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Posts Tagged ‘building relationships’

 

I want with all of my heart to be the woman who loves like Jesus. I don’t want to be the woman who judges someone before I know their life story. I don’t want to be the woman who snaps at people when I have had a bad day. I don’t want to be the woman who is impatient when teaching others. I don’t want to be the woman who gossips about others. But, let’s get real. As much as, I don’t want to do those things, I am human. I am an imperfect woman who does her best to love like Jesus, but I am not Jesus, so I fail, sometimes more than I succeed.

How do we love like Jesus?

There are days when I’m not really sure how to love like Jesus. It should be easy to make loving others a lifestyle. It should be easy to make loving others a priority in your every day life. But, it isn’t easy. There are days when I get so wrapped up in my own activities and thoughts that I miss that opportunity to love someone who needs my love. I miss opportunities because I am so focused on ME and what is going on in MY life. I am then filled with regret at having let an opportunity go. I regret the possibility that I have added to someone’s burden or sadness. I regret that I in any way disappointed God. How did Jesus love? The New Testament tells us how Jesus loved. Five examples are listed below:

  1. Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost so that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). If Jesus came to seek and save the lost, then that is our God-given purpose too. John 3:16 tells us that God so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God LOVED us so much that He sent His beloved Son to seek and save the lost. Our mission and ministry as Christians is to seek and save the lost in our own sphere of influence. How do we do that? We build relationships. We set the example that Jesus set for us. If we are intentional in building those relationships and we are intentional in acting like Christ in ALL areas of our lives, those around us WILL ask why we live like we do? Why we have joy in the midst of sorrow? Why we choose to love instead of hate? They will ask. And that door will open for you to share your Jesus story.
  2. Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – I don’t think any of us can argue that Jesus suffered more than most of us will ever suffer in our lives. He was also tempted by Satan to sin. The thing is: Jesus DID NOT SIN! Jesus NEVER GAVE IN TO SATAN’S TACTICS! Of course, we are not Jesus and when we are tempted we have that tendency to give in. We are human and imperfect after all. But, because Jesus suffered and was tempted, He can now help us when we are being tempted. We have all suffered in some way in our lives. No one is immune to heartache and temptation. And while there will be times when we give in to temptation, we can still use our experiences to help those around us who are suffering and being tempted to sin. Be willing to walk alongside that person who needs accountability and encouragement. Remind them of 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
  3. Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 15:32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. – I think I have proven my point that Jesus felt compassion for people who were hurting in any way. These are not the only verses that attest to the compassion that Jesus showed the people He came across, but I will let you find the rest. My point here is that the compassion that Jesus felt LED HIM TO ACTION. When He felt compassion for someone or a group of people, He acted on that compassion and fed the multitudes, healed the sick, delivered the demon possessed, taught about God and living a Godly life, and rebuked from a place of love and not condemnation. We are called to do the same. We are called to feel compassion for the hurting and heartbroken in the world around us. We are also called to ACT on that compassion. Our compassion must lead us to feed the hungry, minister to the sick, build relationships, disciple others, and even rebuke from a place of love. There are so many ways that we can show our love to those around us IF we allow our compassion to lead us into ACTION. 
  4. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – The Jesus Centered Bible uses the term understand instead of empathize. Jesus understands our weaknesses. He was human and He was tempted. He understands our imperfections. He understands that we can not face the temptations and trials of life on our own. We need to have that same understanding for others. Because we know what it is like to be tempted and fail in our efforts to fight temptation, we need to be understanding when others fail. We all have weaknesses. We need to be willing to understand someone else’s weakness and step out to be that strong tower for them when necessary.
  5. Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. – The definition of intercede is to intervene on behalf of another. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for US. Despite the fact that we are NOT worthy of His intervention, Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Jesus asks for mercy and grace on our behalf. If Jesus is sitting in Heaven interceding to the Father for us and our imperfect, sin-filled selves, don’t you think we owe it to those in our lives to intercede for them. We are called to intercede/intervene on behalf of others. I have prayed prayers of intercession on behalf of my kids and miracles have come about because of those prayers. Don’t miss the miracle in someone else’s life because you refuse to pray for them. We are not any better than anyone else and we are never to good to intercede on behalf of another.

Jesus LOVES us! Jesus shows His love by: 1. Seeking and saving the lost, 2. Helping those who are being tempted, 3. Having compassion for the hurting and ACTING on that compassion, 4. Understanding the weaknesses of others, and 5. He intercedes for us.

We are called to BE examples of Jesus in this world. To Be an example of Jesus means that we need to LOVE OTHERS just as He loved. My CHALLENGE to you is to use the above five examples to love those in your sphere of influence on an every day basis. We each have at least one opportunity every day to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Time is short, my friends! GO OUT and LOVE OTHERS TO JESUS!

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Romans 15:14

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Colossians 3:16

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

1 Timothy 4:13

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. In verse 20, He tells us how. Jesus tells us to make disciples by teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us. Jesus, Himself made disciples by teaching others to obey God’s commands. He was the master teacher. He was the ultimate role model in how to teach and make disciples. Below I list five things that Jesus did in teaching and making disciples:

  1. Build Relationships– Jesus spent from one to three years teaching the disciples. They were together all the time. They traveled and did life together. In this time, Jesus came to know the disciples intimately and they came to know Him intimately. Jesus was building relationships with these disciples that He would later send out into the world to teach and multiply. Building relationships is important in the teaching relationship. In today’s world spending every moment with each other probably isn’t feasible, but if we are going to teach others what it means to obey and follow Jesus, we need to invest the time in building the relationship. It may take one to three years of spending quality time with someone to make a disciple that is ready to go out and make disciples of their own, but that time invested will never be wasted.
  2. Practiced Patience– I’m sure there were times when Jesus shook His head in frustration with the twelve. They didn’t always understand the parables and needed Jesus to break it down for them. They weren’t all educated. Some of them were blue collar fishermen who needed everything spelled out for them. Jesus did not yell at them and call them dummies. he was patient in His teaching and broke things down for them when needed. We need to be patient when we are teaching and making disciples. We all have different learning styles and we need to be willing to adapt our teaching style to the person we are teaching.
  3. Admonish in Love– Admonish means to reprimand, rebuke or scold. Jesus did occasionally have to reprimand the disciples. They didn’t always get things right and He had to set them straight, but He admonished them in love. He never made them feel bad about making mistakes or messing things up. Jesus corrected the disciples from a place of love, building them up instead of tearing them down. No one is perfect. Those that we teach or disciple WILL make mistakes. Be careful to admonish from a place of love. Make sure you are building up and not tearing down.
  4. Encouraged– Jesus was an encourager. When He confronted a person who was living in sin, He did not condemn, but encouraged them to sin no more. Jesus never made the disciples feel like they would never make it as a disciple. He encouraged them in their God-given purpose and sent them out believing in themselves. We will all stumble in our relationship with God. We will all stray from the path as we follow Jesus. We need to remember to encourage those we are teaching because we ourselves are imperfect. We all need to be encouraged, especially when we are learning something new. We need to send our students out believing in themselves and the message they are sent out to share.
  5. Equipped– Jesus made sure that the twelve were ready to be sent out to teach and make disciples of their own. He made sure they were prepared to answer the hard questions of being a disciple and following Jesus. Jesus made sure they were ready to give the Gospel message clearly so that others would understand. Jesus took the time making sure that the faith of the twelve was strong enough to handle the attacks of the enemy and those who opposed Jesus. He took the time to make sure that the twelve were ready to give an answer as to why they believed in Jesus. He sent them out prepared, ready to face whatever situations they encountered. We need to make sure that those we are teaching are equipped to answer the hard questions. We need to make sure that they are ready to share their own testimony of how Jesus has worked in their lives. We need to make sure that they are ready to share the Gospel message in a way that others will understand. Our students need to be sent out prepared to face whatever Satan throws at them, with a faith strong enough to face whatever they encounter.

Jesus told us to teach others to obey His commands. We are to teach new Christians how to be a disciple. Jesus gave us a blue print for teaching and discipling. There are those around us that we can be teaching right now. Our family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends all need to know the Gospel message. We need to be ready to teach those around us how to follow Jesus and be disciples that glorify and multiply. It won’t always be easy. There will be challenging times that make you want to quit, but don’t give up! Remember that Jesus never gives up on us and He expects us to always follow His example.

 

 

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My son Talon is 16 years old. Talon has always been a helper. Even when he was little, he would wait for the mail man, to give him a bottle of water in the Summer months. As he has gotten older and bigger, he has shoveled snow, cut grass, and helped many people in many different ways. When we have had homeless guests, he has gone above and beyond to help them out and make them feel welcome. He has gone with his dad to deliver meals to the hungry. He cares about people and never thinks about how helping someone might inconvenience him. He gives of his time and resources without considering the sacrifice. Talon has always had a great work ethic and doesn’t mind working hard, if it means helping someone out. He is always the first one to offer help and puts his heart and soul into other people.

In all honesty, he did not get this trait from me. I really hate admitting this, but I can be selfish when it comes to helping others, if I think I might be inconvenienced in any way. I really hate this about myself. It is something I am working on and watching Talon, as he gives of himself, encourages me to be better. It isn’t that I don’t like helping people, I do. I hate to see anyone in need. For me, it is about my daily to-do list and letting the stress of life get to me. I am challenging myself to let my anxiety over getting things done go, when I know that someone is in need of help and I have the ability to help them. There is always tomorrow. My to-do list can wait and serving others is what Jesus is all about. Letting someone else know that you love them enough to help them is what Jesus is all about. Loving others to Jesus is what life is all about and Talon has taught me a thing or two about that.

My challenge to you: Let go of your to-do list and be willing to help someone this week, regardless of the inconvenience and sacrifice. Be willing to love someone to Jesus.

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