Amazed at the number of nations represented in our community this morning. Praying in their own language to glorify… https://t.co/mT9VfTckGl
The one thing everyone in this world is looking for is to love and be loved. There is a line hidden in a bible story about a rich young man that could change your life. The Bible is full of such revelations, words that we have skipped over and deemed irrelevant, verses and stories we know so well we no longer recognise the true impact they can have in our lives.
This particular story is found in the Bible in Mark ten. A rich young man approaches Jesus, goes down on his knees in reverence and refers to him as ‘good teacher’. He clearly recognises something special in Christ and looks to him for the answer to the question that has so far eluded him: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
As a wealthy man, he was well provided for materially, he was likely to have been educated and prominent in society. He knew the scriptures, and had kept the commandments since he was a young boy, yet he knew there was something missing in his life. He could buy anything he wanted, but he didn’t know how to acquire eternal life. He knew he was mortal, one day he would die and all his riches would be for nothing.
Jesus response is to ask him to sell everything and give it to the poor, then to come and follow him. The young man’s face falls and he goes away sad, never to be heard of again. We don’t know what happened to him but we do know that Jesus loved him unconditionally. Sandwiched between Jesus first response to this young man, and the command to sell all his possessions are these words:
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
You may have heard this story before and thought about your own wealth (or lack of) and how you might respond to Christ in the same situation, but have you ever wondered what it would be like for Jesus to look at you, and love you?
The Bible is full of stories about real people. God wrote his Word this way so that it would be relevant to all people for all time. There are no irrelevant scriptures within the Bible, they are all there for a purpose. This is no ‘throw away’ line, it is the truth and it is as relevant today as it was when it was first written.
We all have things that we hang onto, things that Christ would ask us to give up. The amazing thing is, whether you do or not, God still loves you. Jesus sees you - your past, your present and your future, yet he loves you for eternity. Those he loved, he gave up his life for – and that includes you! Jesus already knew how this young man would respond yet he had already decided he loved him so much he would hang on a cross and die for his sins.
It is only when you know God’s love that you can be made complete and enter into the life he has for you.
‘Love’ means different things to different people. It is most often described as an emotion or a feeling – and amongst people this feeling can come and go to the point where the line between love and hate is tenuously thin!
The Bible tells us that love means something much more substantial and eternal to God. In 1 Corinthians 13, we find a familiar passage all about love – in this case, God the Father’s love for each of us.
God’s idea of love is patient – it is a love that waits for you, God is not in a hurry and will not force himself on you. God has eternity mapped out before him, he will call you in his timing but his love for you lasts forever.
God’s idea of love is kind – he is a God of justice but he is also gentle and humble. He wants to carry your burdens, to take the load off your shoulders, to meet all your needs and to surround you with his love.
God’s idea of love does not boast – despite God’s awesomeness and our humanness, God does not boast of this difference. In fact, Jesus humbled himself to come and be with us to serve us and to die for us.
God’s idea of love is not proud – in the King James version it says ‘love is not… puffed up’ which means God does not make himself out to be someone he is not. He does not need to be ‘proud’ as he is simply the great ‘I am’.
God’s idea of love is not rude – God knows all your faults yet he is not in the business of pointing the finger and telling you what is wrong with you! He does convict you of sin in your life but he also opens the door of forgiveness and guides you through.
God’s idea of love is not self-seeking – when God looks at you, he is not thinking ‘what can I get out of this person, what can I get them to do for me?’ – he just looks at you and loves you for who you are.
God’s idea of love is not easily angered – the Bible does contain accounts of God being angry but these are over major issues – there are some things in life that we can justifiably be angry about! But God’s anger is a righteous anger and is without sin. Even when he is angry with our actions, he is still just and able to forgive us.
God’s idea of love keeps no record of wrongs – once you have God’s forgiveness for a sin, it is forgotten – as far as the east is from the west is how far God is from your sin. It was dealt with on the cross - leave your sins with Jesus and accept his forgiveness.
God’s idea of love does not delight in evil – evil upsets God, we are created in the image of God so the emotions we may feel when we see evil – anger at the one committing the evil, sadness for the victims – are based upon what God must feel.
God’s idea of love rejoices with the truth – the truth sets us free and God loves to see us living an abundant life of freedom. That is why he created us, and that is why he sent his son to die for us – of course he rejoices!
God’s idea of love always protects – God is available 24/7 as a shelter from whatever storm your life may be involved in. He doesn’t go anywhere, it is we who run from him and then get ourselves lost in the mess of life. God allows us to make mistakes because he gave us freewill - how we learn from these mistakes and whom we turn to for guidance is what really counts.
God’s idea of love always trusts – God has entrusted us with our own lives and with the gospel of salvation. What a responsibility!
God’s idea of love always hopes – in God’s eyes there is always the hope that the prodigal son will turn around and return to him. He never gives up on you.
God’s idea of love always perseveres – God has plans for your life and no matter how much of a mess you make, he will continue to love you and continue to make plans for your good.
God’s idea of love never fails – no matter what happens in your life, God’s love for you will remain.
My prayer is that you will take a moment now & allow God to really see you – open up your life to him so that he might show you how much he loves you – just as you are. Allow Jesus to look at you, and love you.