Passive love is tolerance. The absence of hate is not the same as loving. The Christian’s job is to transform the world, to make it look more like the heaven we say we believe in. Throughout Jesus’ ministry He was increasingly inclusive, not exclusive. This requires a commitment from each and every one of us who claim to follow Jesus.
Listen and empower
Jesus listens to the stories of others. He empowered them to share. When He engaged the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26), He listened and encouraged her to speak her truth in order to show her that He was the one she had been waiting for. First, He listened and empowered her. Then and only then did Jesus reveal that He was the Savior she was waiting for.
In Matthew 16:18-19 (MSG), Jesus empowers His disciples, saying, “I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heave. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”
When we reach into the lives of others and love as God did, it requires our time, attention, an attitude of acceptance and intentional effort. Loving others is not something that just happens. No! It requires foresight and heart work.
Reasons we hold back
Selfishness marks many of our choices. If you and I truly believed Jesus’ words that we are capable of bringing heaven to earth, we would be doing more. We would be stepping away from our everyday comforts, apathy and passivity. We wouldn’t turn a blind eye to the atrocities of human rights violations in our country, to the racism, misogyny and abuse. We would be less focused on condemnation and more focused on feeding the hungry in our own community. We’d reach across the aisle to those who think differently and live differently and begin to listen to their stories to understand who they are and how loved, in this moment, they are by the God who created them.
Fear of failure is another reason we hold back. “What if I try to bring about the kingdom of heaven to earth and fail?” I hear you, but you aren’t hearing the God of this universe who handed you the keys and said it’s accomplished as long as you act. Perfection is not expected; obedience is. Mistakes along the way are not failures; they are merely lessons as you and I seek to live our lives more and more like Christ every day.
Join us at Unfiltered Radio as we uncover and discuss what it means to authentically follow Jesus. We examine historical evidence and relevant truths to learn how to follow Jesus amid our everyday lives.