Get Back to the Basics
Sitting here watching the rains come down by the gallons, I wondered away in thought. It is kind of scary how far off our thoughts can get. Well at least mine. We have been reading in 1st Corinthians and I wondered. How could the first century church get to far off from what the gospel was about? I mean, the Apostle Paul is still alive, and writing to them. They had Apollos, Cephas, and other spirit filled followers, of the Way, right there with them. Paul even sent Timothy to follow up with them and make sure that they were following the teachings they had received.
Jesus commanded us, as believers, to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe ALL I’ve commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The word observe has several meanings, but they all come down to follow with the eyes of the mind and stick to correctly, or conform ones actions or practice to. So another way of putting it could be that Jesus said to teach them to conform to the commandments I gave you. This is what discipleship is. With that in mind. What are the most important commandments of Jesus?
If we took all of his teachings and commandments, and the way he lived his life and put it all together, what would be the result? What are we to conform our lives to? Now I’m talking to believers, those who have repented, confessed Jesus as Lord, taken up their cross and are followers of the Way of Christ.
Does anyone remember what kind of house Jesus lived in? Wasn’t it the biggest one on the block? Wasn’t his chariot the newest thing out of Rome? Does anyone recall when he was on the Mount of Olive and he said, those who are rich are welcome in the kingdom and the poor need to wait outside? Well if you remember all these things you have a very different version of the New Testament then I do.
No he said that the Son of man has not where to lay his head. He walked almost everywhere he went. He said it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven then for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He said if you give to the poor and the hungry and visit the prisoners, then you did so to him.
So what is the command? Couldn’t he just come out and say it? I can be pretty thick headed. Hmmm… Well, thanks to Jesus thinking of me, and how I would need to have my hand held all the way, he did tell us very plainly.
When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He not only answered, plainly, but went the extra mile. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all our mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, KJV)
Once again Jesus reiterated, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV) By these two commandment, everything Jesus wanted us to observe is made perfect.
Just to make sure we understood how important these commandments are Jesus tells us in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” So… In loving the Lord we keep his commandments to love the Lord your God and to love one another. But how do we love the Lord? How do we express the way to love the Lord? We live in a world where all we are taught is how to love ourselves.
Let us start with something basic. Most of us being selfish, still know how to show love to our children, a spouse, a sibling, a pet, a close friend, or to parents. I know, not all at the same time, but we have at least a starting point. You can express love to the Lord in the same way you express love to one of these that you do love. Now this is only a beginning and meant to get you to find your own ways to express love for the Lord.
- Give Thanks
- Do Things For Him
- Spend Time
- Shut Up and Listen
- Give Praise and Brag on Him
Let’s start with being thankful. Expressing thanks to someone you love just for being there is a great way to show your love. I love the fact that my wife is there for me, even when she doesn’t realize it, her presence lifts me up. Sometimes I just reach over and tell her, Thanks for no reason. When my son cuts the grass for me, I tell him thanks, because he did not have to do that. When my wife brings me diner, and yes she does bring me diner. I know in this day and age that is not the norm, so I thank her for it without fail. She is not my servant, but shows her love for me in this manner. The Lord does things for you all the time, even when you do not know. Show your love and appreciation by thanking him, as often as you need to. You should thank Him, as soon as you think of it.
Do Things for Him
That brings us to another point. Do things for the Lord that He enjoys. I help my wife with cooking, and dishes, and other household chores. I make her little drawings, I by her flowers for no reason. So what are some things we can do for the Lord? Funny you should ask, because he told us in Matthew 25: 34-40,
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
I love to just sit on the bed, or go for a drive with my wife and just enjoy being with her. I love sitting on a peer with my son and fishing, or just being in the presence of my family without the phone in my hand, or theirs. Just spending time with them lets them know they are important to me. Spend time with the Lord. Get up early and go to sit by the water and just enjoy His presence, or have a cup of coffee and meditate on His goodness. Spend time with him and let him know you enjoy the time he has to spend with you. Enjoy his voice.
Shut Up and Listen
Most of the time I spend with family is sitting in the living room or at the dinner table and they just talk about their day. Most of the time they talk to fast I can hardly keep up with the conversation, much less add my own thoughts. I often have to stop them and make them start over so I can understand. They laugh at me a little sometimes, and sometimes they even repeat what they said, to make sure I know what was went on with them. But just taking the time to listen, and try to understand is another way I show my love. I care about what they are trying to say, even if I don’t always understand it the first time. Spending time with the Lord in Prayer and study is a very good way to not only learn more about God, but to show Him that you love Him enough to try to understand Him. Remember the Lord says to Seek and you shall find. Ask and it will be given. Set a specific time of day just to spend in prayer and study His Word.
Give Praise and Brag on Him
When my wife gives me a pat on the back, or brags about me to others, “Boy Howdy!” I love it because I know she thinks about me, when I’m not there. I will honestly tell you my wife is the best cook I have ever known. I mean, I will lay money on it. She knows it and so does everyone else. I love to brag at work and tell everyone the latest culinary masterpiece that she developed in the cooking channel that is our kitchen.
The same way is with my son’s playing of the trumpet, everyone in the stadium knows that he is the best trumpet player in the band, and it they didn’t know before I got there, they do when I have left. Or that my other son is the hardest working, biggest hearted man I know, who will literally give you the shirt off his back. The gentleness in his heart makes me cry every single time I think about him.
This is the way we should brag and praise the Lord. Hey! Your God is the one who SAVED you from death. Y our God is the one who formed you in the womb. our God is He who provides everything you have. Your God is He who parted the Red Sea, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. He is the creator or all that is see and unseen. He is coming back to wipe away the heavens and the earth and create a new heavens and earth, and guess what, your gona have a front row seat! Praise God! Brag in Him. “ I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works.” Psalms 9:1
Knowing that someone loves you is euphoric. We are created in God’s image. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are one awesome God and deserve our love and our outward expression of love. So rejoice in the Lord and brag about being His beloved. “For the Lord gives to His beloved even in their sleep.” (Psalms 127:2) Don’t take Him for granted. Tell others how much He loves you and them.
This is only a short list of ways to love the Lord your God. I am sure you have already thought of many more. It is time to move away from the milk of the gospel and onto to cereals of the doctrine of love in Christ Jesus. There is no division in Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus there is no Jew, Catholic, or Protestant. We are one church. We are all baptized in to one resurrection, and by His love they shall know we are one in Him.