Love Everyone's Soul as Much as Jesus Loved Yours
One of the best things about living in rural, or semi rural areas is the drive you have to take to get to almost anywhere to get something your town can't accommodate. I mean that sincerely! I love those long drives and talking with my wife and kids, it's a resource we use to connect with one another. Tonight, I had to travel over an hour away to get something that came in for the house from an online order that was too small. So we packed up the kids (this on top of a 5-ish hour drive I took earlier coming back from a convention) and headed out. I enjoyed the time, and even got a new phone in the process (a long story), and we were able to build up the girl who sold us the phone in Christ (another long story!). On the way home, my wife and I were discussing two guys (brothers) who used to do a Christian Podcast that now claim to no longer believer, and have turned their podcast in to a tool to "deconstruct the faith." It seems that this is a trend every few years, Christian personalities, pastors, or thought leaders suddenly (it's not a new thing, nor is it sudden, believe me) get this idea that Christianity is bogus, and they need to, instead of quietly contemplating being "wrong" (Supposedly) for many years, shout loudly about how they have this new thought and want to take others with them. It's nothing new. Judas betrayed Jesus, the other 11 ran out on Him, Demas left Paul...it's been going on since the beginning of our faith. Why, though? And here is the rub: when we don't love Jesus as much as we love ourselves, and we don't love our neighbors sacrificially, our faith becomes a shallow faith and all about us. Truth be told, I don't know where these guys started doubting, when, or where, or if they ever truly believed, or what misled them. What I do know is that everyone of us has the same thing in common before coming to Christ, and if it is not fixed by Christ, we will never be satisfied in Christ. The fact is that we have a heart condition.
There is a reason Jesus focused on love, and said the Law and Prophets can be summed up by "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself." That love should be the driving force of your faith. You should love the Lord your God so much that you would sacrifice all you had for Him, that He, not the mansion in glory, is your great treasure and reward, and in so loving Him, you should love your neighbor, who God loves. And how did God love your neighbor? The same way He loved you: in your sin, God sent His Son to die for you, that you might know Him always! So how, then, should we love our neighbors? As Christ was sent by His Father on your behalf, so Jesus is sending you on His, to die for your neighbor that they may come to know Christ's love. We may never be called to physicallly give up our lives, but we ARE called to die socially, financially (not necessarily giving to a cause, but seeking your neighbor's welfare), your time, and any other way that your neighbor (friends, enemies, and frienemies) may come to know the Jesus you have come to know through someone else's sacrifices. No greater love has any one than this: than to lay his life down for his friends. Cherish the soul of everyone you meet enough to die for their eternity. Jesus cherished yours in this way. If We love Christ in this supernatural, Holy Spirit filled love than we won't have time to think about ourselves, and our desires that are not being satisfied. God, and His people will be enough if we love them supernaturally and sacrificially. John 14 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. Footnotes:
John 14:1 Or You believe in God
John 14:2 Or In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you
John 14:4 Some manuscripts Where I am going you know, and the way you know
John 14:7 Or If you know me, you will know my Father also, or If you have known me, you will know my Father also
John 14:14 Some manuscripts omit me
John 14:16 Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7
John 14:17 Some manuscripts and is