By: Susanna Kozlow
I had so many thoughts as I read through Isaiah 58 today. I couldn’t help but feel an ache in my heart and soul for all the things people say to one another – the hurtful words; the division. Some are said in the name of God, and that’s the most wounding part of all. If it wasn’t for social media or news outlets, would we even see it? I don’t know, but I trust my Sovereign God knows what purpose this plays. Today, I'm grateful I have a platform.
I pray those that proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior come to realize the responsibility of what that means. No man made law or person on this earth will make up for that internal, external, and eternal responsibility. No country we live in or person in authority for our nation will make up for how we choose to love in our own lives. It just won't. We are to be the light of peace, unity, and love to those around us. We are to overcome HATE with GOOD – God's good! We are to extend grace to one another, pick up burdens, notice pain, and never leave any person with a feeling of being less than or unheard or unwanted or unloved. We are to do all of this without first inquiring if they deserve it. And, most importantly, we are to fight sin and darkness with love in our hearts. That bears repeating: WITH LOVE IN OUR HEARTS! Why? Because that’s how Jesus did it, and we will suffer as the church that Jesus intended if we forget this. Jesus came to earth and began a revolution with love for people. When He gave the greatest commandment, He was very clear:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV How did we, as a church, come to an understanding that loving people sacrificially is weak?
Let us be reminded...
We know that Jesus could have easily taken Himself off the cross as He was dying a painful death. He was even mocked because He didn’t do it. He was mocked as He suffered, but in His last breath, He asked God to forgive the very people that put Him there. Is that demonstration of love weak? I don’t think so. That’s the Jesus we follow. “The church” is made up of people who have given up their own lives and want to pick up the life and wants of the One who sacrificed ALL – King Jesus Christ. “The church” is sacrificial. It’s servanthood. We stand firm on God's Word because God's Word is how we live, every day. We do this ALL for the purpose of glorifying our Father God here on earth. There is NO room for hate in that, and it should never be used to promote our own wants and needs. We are people who strive for the character and heart of King Jesus and work the mission of King Jesus for the glory of KING JESUS. How has this been missed in translation? I continually pray God cleans my heart so I may continue His mission, because there is always an adversary wanting a piece of it. And so he will try. He knows exactly how, and he does it to all people. He never gets tired because he enjoys it. As the Body of Christ, may we always recognize this. I pray those around us who don’t know Jesus are able to look at our personal lives and the church as whole and see a light so bright it's blinding. I pray they see a church with promise, hope, and a continuous surrender to God; no one else!
But, I'm afraid people are not seeing that, and the very Bride of Christ has been put into question. Though I realize this may not be something new, this still should break a Christ follower's heart and break it EVERY DAY.
I recently read this quote that pierced me: “People may hate us because of Jesus, but people should never hate Jesus because of us.” -Jen Hatmaker
We are living in a time where God is calling us to fear Him above all else. He wants our attention, our time, and, above all, our hearts.
But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5-6 NIV
I pray today, God, please help us. Help us see that the fear of You, Lord, is a fear of being away from You. Start in our own hearts, and start with each of us! Let THAT FEAR be the STRONGEST FEAR we have, ABOVE ALL ELSE.️