Living The Easy Life
Ever think life would be easier if we could pick and choose our relationships?
Just spend time with the people we like, and who like us? Handpicked, no stress- no drama people. That would be Utopian, right? The Good and Bad news is, that’s pretty much impossible to do if we truly are followers of Christ. That person or people who rub you the wrong way are placed in your life and mind to mature us in the love of God. To help us be Patient, Kind, Gentle, Long-suffering. I mean, you take Jesus’ prayer in John Chapter 17- “I have prayed for these men you have given me”. Wait, stop! All the people in my world the Father has put them there on purpose?? Yep. Jesus understood that revelation and gleaned from it and passed it down to us. Most all the relationships we have throughout our lives have been handpicked by God for us. This is both comforting and discomforting but it’s the truth. Jesus was given Peter the Volatile disciple, Thomas the Doubting disciple and Judas the betrayer. Why? To demonstrate the Love of the Father to them no matter if they deserved it or not. If we are Christ-followers the same expectation is on us for relatives, co-workers and the people we go to church with.
This is not easy to write because I have people in my life that would rather love at a distance. But loving from a distance is not love. Jesus said about his disciples and ultimately about us in John 17, “these were yours before you gave them to me”. There is something God wants to do through us to others while at the same time working in us- revealing his patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and long suffering. (Galatians 5:22-23-The Fruit Of The Spirit).
This is the ultimate test to me. I can love Jesus without having relationships. But the relationships in my life might not experience the unconditional Love of God if I separate myself from the people God has put in my life.
The cultural church norm today is to do life with people in my local church until someone or something offends me. Then we are “led” to go somewhere else. Declaring to everyone that we were “only called to be there for a season”. Brothers and sisters, this should not be! God has called us to be planted in a local church, through the Good, Bad and Ugly. And as much as we can, be at peace with all men (and Women).
Jesus is our model and here is how he did it.
Historically Jews would take the long way around Samaria to avoid even seeing Samaritans (feuding like the Hatfield’s and Mccoy’s). But Jesus took a shortcut to the well in Samaria, the center of town, in the hottest part of the day just to see the woman who’s wasn’t seeking Jesus for a changed heart and in so many words told him so! But he persisted and spoke words to her that eventually changed her attitude and her life.
Through that episode, Jesus gave God credit by freeing a woman in bondage and a blood enemy of the Jewish nation.
Avoiding challenging people in our lives is the easy way out. Believe me I am a pro when it comes to avoiding people who have become a ‘thorn in my flesh’.
Avoidance is NOT what I’m called to do as a Christ-follower. I’m called to get my hands dirty, grow up, be mature and give Living Water to people in my life who are broken and thirsty for love of God and need relationship that should be found in his Church-in us.
If we decide to Love the people Jesus has given us, where do we begin?
First, we have to be willing to say, “Not my comfort but his will be done”.
Second, single out one “trying” relationship and pray for that person. Then be ready to speak life to them when the time is right.
Third, ask the Holy Spirit to help us to produce the fruit of the Spirit to them so that their hearts are softened and ready to hear what He has to say through you.
Relationship may not happen overnight but stay with it and expect God to move.
Move in YOU and through YOU to others!
And to move in others so that they experience the Love of God!