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09 March 2008

Jump In -- The Water Is Fine

I've noticed that I haven't offered a whole lot of real-life scenarios for tie-ins lately. This post continues that trend. That's why I've made the title sound like it's going to be rather allegorical. But it's really a trick -- the title technically makes sense, but I don't have a pool story to go along with it...

Jesus told His disciples, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (John 13:34-35, NLT)

As I have noted before, many Christ-followers wait for a special feeling or unusual sensation to help them determine if they should do something or not. Do we wait for that special prompting before loving people in our hearts, minds, and actions?

There are some things spelled out plainly that we're to do whether or not we feel like it. The fact that it is a commandment that we love one another just as Christ loved us means that we can actually choose to disobey it. If we could not do it, Jesus would not have told us (by extension as His disciples) to do it. So loving one another must be one of those things that the Christian is naturally empowered to do.

In my own life, I have seen that this is most often made possible by swallowing my pride and simply doing it rather than saying, "Lord, help me to love so-and-so." That kind of prayer has usually led to my waiting on a special, fuzzy feeling, and in the end, either inaction or procrastination -- the postponement of love, if you will.

Because of Jesus' words, we can know that God has already given us all the help and strength that we need to do this.


Tony M said...

Yep, we (okay, I, since I can actually speak only for myself, but it's nice to "hide" behind that "we" sometimes, isn't it?) often use that type of prayer as an "out" for not doing things that we know we're supposed to do. My dad has oft made this same point in teaching his Sunday School class (or in other, less "structured" teaching opportunities, such as when just talking with me or other people) that while there are some things that God may or may not want us to do, there are definitely things that He's already told us to do, and we don't have to pray about it - such as loving others. We don't have to pray to find out if it's His will for us to love someone, that's already (as you've mentioned) laid out for us in His instructions to us, His revelation of Himself in the Bible.

Sometimes, as you mention, we need to just shut up and do what He's already told us to do instead of asking ("God, are you really sure I'm supposed to love and help him/her?"). Okay, I.

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