So we've talked about making sure we know how much God loves us, and truly understanding His amazing sacrifice for us, and then about how we should be sharing this amazing news with others. And in typical Tanya style we started by talking about acts of kindness that we can do as we go through life to point people to God and give Him glory. Yes - I did kinda get the order a little mixed up!!!
So today, as we think about Easter, I want to look at a favourite verse of mine.
It's one thing doing a few acts of kindness at various times of the year - be it Christmas or Easter or whatever - but what we need to do is learn how to LIVE OUT GOD'S LOVE.
So what does it actually mean to live out God's love in our everyday lives? One website I found explained it like this -
LIVE—This is not some drab and dull experience God is calling us to. It is:
LIFE—We are being called to a lifestyle.
LOVE—It is a specific kind of love—This is God’s love. It is a love that seeks another person’s highest good.
I love this. Life is supposed to be good - we only have one life and we need to embrace it and live it to God's glory. Yes there are trials and tribulations but we need to seek God's glory in it all - no matter what. I, for one, want to live my life where I am thriving, enjoying it and making precious memories - rather than struggling through, only just surviving and wishing it was over already. When we live for God - truly embracing His love and purpose for you - everything we do should point people towards a God of love, of justice and of life.
So if it's not just about doing a few random acts of kindness but living our whole lives for God, how exactly do we do it? I think we need to remember three points -
1. We need to see those around us like God sees them.
2. We need to love them like God loves them.
3. We need to love on them for God's glory
I think this really changes the way we live our lives, and the first one is the hardest but most important of all. Let me explain. If someone does something against you or annoys you in some way it's very easy to become judgemental and have a fixed opinion of that person from then on. This could and would easily effect whether or not you'd be likely to want to do them an act of kindness. You might think about it but then you'd more than likely think that they don't really deserve it, they probably wouldn't do it to you should the situation be reversed or that they wouldn't appreciate it anyway!
But when you see people as God sees them, it enables you look beyond your opinions, look beyond your experience of them and see their needs and their heart. Sometimes yes you might still want to think 'ah... no' but that's not the point - we need to see them as someone created in His image, someone He loves and someone who needs Him in their lives. This changes everything. It really does!
God doesn't want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) - when He looks down at our fallen world He sees the potential of each of His children - He sees beyond their sin and their shame. He loves them completely (1 John 4:19) - so much so He sent His Son to die for each of them (John3:16) - yes even for your 'mortal enemy'. So when we are living lives of love for God we need to see them with similar loving eyes - seeing past their mistakes or problems to who they really are. Seeing them as God sees them.
When we see them like God sees them it becomes easier to love them like God loves them - ok so it's not THAT easy lets be honest, but it IS easier and the more you work in this the easier it becomes - trust me on that!! But when we do this we can easily make the transition to showing love, God's love, to anyone around us, and showing them acts of kindness, love and mercy every single day of your life.
God can do amazing things through us - He chooses to use us and we need to remember what a privilege it is to be part of this great story - but only if we are willing to put away our opinions and pre-conceived notions of people and see them through God's eyes. Then we start to think about ways we can show them love.
We have the list of ideas we came up with on Monday of course, but there are lots of other small and big ways we can change the world for God's glory. Here's a couple of each -
SMALL EVERYDAY THINGS
• Hold doors for people
• Say thank you to your waitress - it might be just what she needs to hear to feel appreciated
• Write a wee thank you note to someone you have never thought of thanking before
• Put a comment on a comment card to let your fav restaurant know you love it
• Smile at people - even if you feel like a weirdo!!!
• Join the A21 campaign and look at the 21 things you can do to help
• Donate time or money to a charity or to a nursing home
• Give blood - you never know whose life you might help save
• Visit a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and see how you can help
• Pay for someone's meal at a restaurant/drive-thru
There are such a lot of ways we can show God's love to others - lets really shine for Him this year and help change the world around you!
Keep shining xx