Thursday, July 30, 2015

If I Really Followed Jesus, How Would My Life Impact Those Around Me?

In recent years, I have been accumulating a list of key principles I am learning from Jesus about how I should interact with those around me.
It is my absolute conviction that as these Jesus values fill up and flow out of our hearts, then we increasingly will become conduits of God’s blessing and love to those around us. And all sorts of wonderful and amazing things happen when people in need (that's all of us) encounter the love of God!
My challenge to you: I invite you to prayerfully pour over this list, asking God to grow these values in you. For a more intense spiritual workout, try to find and read corresponding, supporting verses in the Gospels and other New Testament letters. (I promise they're in The Book! Feel free to ask me if you have questions.)

Ways to Love Others Like Jesus
  1. Love God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. Enemies are neighbors, too, and are to be treated as friends.

  2. Love my enemies; it’s not enough just to tolerate them.

  3. Consider others as better than I am.

  4. Put the others’ interests above my own.

  5. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, whether they are rich or poor, important or unimportant.

  6. Be ready to lay my life down to help others.

  7. Take up my cross daily and follow Jesus.

  8. Overcome evil by doing good.

  9. Be humble, teachable, and unassuming.

  10. Honor everyone as a creation of the Master Creator.

  11. Listen to people and learn from them.

  12. Don't be arrogant--don't act like I have all the answers. I don't. Twenty years ago, I had few theological uncertainties—now I have many! Now, however, I am more confident in Jesus.

  13. Be slow to condemn and fast to accept.

  14. Be slow to speak and quick to listen.

  15. Do not cast stones at someone else because I, too, am a sinner.

  16. Touch (hug, embrace, shake hands with) those others don’t want to touch.

  17. Love those it is risky to be seen with.

  18. Love and be kind toward those who oppress others (like tax collectors in New Testament times).

  19. Remember that the log is always in my own eye.

  20. Love sinners and hate MY OWN sin. (This is quite different than the common admonition to “love sinners and hate THEIR sin.”)

  21. God doesn’t need a defense attorney. He wants authentic vessels of love, however imperfect. God uses broken vessels who are transparent and authentic.

  22. Jesus is Good News. All of Him. Let me embrace all His ways, all His words, all His works, and all His worth. He wants me to be a follower rather than merely a fan.

Trying to follow Jesus and wage peace,

Thomas