“… Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that unselfishly seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]” (1 Corinthians 8:1b AMP).
Remember when Jesus talked about the wide and narrow gates in Matthew 7:13-14?
He’s talking about the choices we have to make each day.
Choices to follow Him or follow the world.
Choices to trust Him or trust our feelings.
Choices to seek His best or settle for less.
Choices to allow healing to happen or hold onto our hurts.
Choices to choose compassion or give grudges.
Choices to speak kindly or speak carelessly.
Choices to let grace flow through you or to hoard grace and hurt people.
Choices to live by knowledge …
To live by what we think we know.
To live by our own (flawed) reasoning.
To live by what makes us feel good (for the moment).
To live considering only our own feelings and needs.
To live trying to prove we are better and smarter.
To live a life without the full rewards of God’s best.
Because pride is in control of our internal guidance systems. And we are slowly and surely being “drawn away by our own desires” (James 1:14 NKJV) to a life of selfishness, self-righteousness, and selfish ambition.
And easy is the path to follow pride.
“… Wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it” (Matthew 7:13 AMP).
There is little to no sacrifice.
There is little to no consideration.
There is little to no grace.
But there is another choice.
A better choice.
A choice to live by love.
“But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 AMP).
Don’t you want God’s life?
Don’t you want God’s blessings?
Don’t you want God’s grace?
Then you have to go against your natural human instincts and choose to love.
When it is hard.
When they don’t deserve it.
When you have to overlook the pain.
When you don’t want to.
When you think you can’t.
When you think it’s impossible and refuse, you can choose to love.
As God loves, with agápē (ag-ah’-pay) love.
All it takes is choosing to offer grace.
Considering the person’s motivations.
Considering the person’s mindset.
Considering the person’s mood.
Looking beyond your feelings to think about what is driving that other person.
Feelings and fears and frustrations … unexpressed.
Circumstances … and the lack of control.
No, they probably don’t deserve it.
But how quickly we forget that neither do we!
We don’t deserve God’s grace.
We don’t deserve God’s goodness.
We don’t deserve God’s gifts.
Yet He offers them to us.
Freely. Fully. Forever.
In unlimited measure. With unending patience. In innumerable ways.
And in return, He expects us to do the same.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38 NKJV).
So, that draws me to a gut-wrenching question: Don’t you want to be the Jesus follower you claim to be?
Then that means …
Building bridges instead of walls.
Empowering people instead of judging them and tearing them down.
Confirming God’s love instead of withholding grace.
Going against your feelings and doing for people what God has done for you.
Remember, you can be the life-changing person in someone’s story, helping him/her find God … whether for the first time or in a new way.
So, please, be wary of blowing up that connection and having both of you miss out on what God is doing.
Help people find (deeper) truth.
Help people grow.
Help people do good.
Help people know God.
No matter what the cost.
And God will be “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV) – because you chose well.
Marie Fremin. 11/14/19, 12/24/19.