Tuesday, May 06, 2014

To Love and Be Loved

**This post was written last October but, for a number of reasons, tucked away. Today I found it and decided to post it. **

Have you ever had that moment where something new and different - perhaps a new place, or a new group of people - bring you back to exactly where you began? I had one of those today. My sweet husband and I are embarking on a journey back to church community. For so many reasons, it is a journey back and while it is in so many ways old and comfortable and home and same and about obedience, it is still new and different and a little bit frightening. It is indeed a journey back.

That Sunday, participating as a part of this new community, I was reminded of one question. A question that drove me through my degree and the classes I took at the masters' level. The question that influences me in my day to day interactions. The question that for so long, took over the reading I did and the things I discussed with other church leaders. This one question motivated the lessons I planned and the way I taught my leaders in my different leadership and ministry roles. It was the foundation for the way I recruited. It, in many ways, shaped how (and why) we began this journey back to church.

What does it look like to live with a spirit transformed by Jesus?

I've come to the place where I sum it up like this, the way that Jesus did: to love God and to love people. I know I've said it before in my musing: the love that Jesus is talking about is active and all consuming. It changes how we think and live and move. It informs all things. Or at least it should.

See, living like Jesus can't be just about believing in him. In the message that Sunday, we were reminded of the scriptures teaching that even the demons, if Satan himself, believe in Jesus. They know he exists. They know he is real. They know he is the savior of the world and that he sacrificed himself.

But they don't live lives that are changed.

They don't follow him.

They don't love him.

And if we truly love Jesus and realize that he loves us, we can't help but live lives that are loving. We can't help but be transformed from the inside out. See, then it's not our actions that make us followers of Jesus. It's our hearts. And it's because our hearts are following Jesus that our actions change. 

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