February 4, 2015
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 22:37-39
When we lived in California, I had a lot of free time. My husband had a job that was 45 miles from where we lived. He had a very long commute, so I spent many a day during regular work hours on my own. If I wasn't working, I was either at the park exercising, or at the library job searching. I often would go on prayer walks or go for walks after spending time in prayer. I wanted God to use me in a powerful way as I waited on my big acting break.
One day, I remember walking through our neighborhood after spending time with God. Although I didn't have anything to do that day, I decided to get out of the house. I was tired of sitting around inside, and I told myself I couldn't share the love of Jesus in my room.
I went on a walk and asked God to lead me to a divine appointment. Well...there are times when we don't have to ask God for what we want. He just sends it our way. He does like us to ask Him for what we want, and I did. I asked Him for a divine appointment. I asked Him to lead me to that person. On my walk, I passed this woman. She looked distracted, maybe even a little bit distraught. I had the urge to give her a $5 bill I was carrying in my pocket. I wondered if I should stop her and ask her if she needed anything.
I would love to say that I boldly took her hand with gentleness, looked her in the eye and said to her how Jesus loves her and sent me to pray for her. But I did not. I walked right by her. I had doubts that she was the divine appointment. I had fears that she would reject me and look at me crazy. I turned at least three times to watch her, debating whether or not I should turn around and approach her. But the third time I glanced back at her, I decided that she was too far away, and that God would send another appointment if I had missed that opportunity.
I thought about God's grace and His willingness to forgive and love unconditionally. Yes, God does extend His grace to us. Yes, He is ever forgiving us our sins and disobedience. But He has us here for a reason. It is not to enjoy life and live in a bubble. Jesus told His disciples to go out and make disciples. Matthew 28:19
How can we make disciples for the kingdom of God if we don't open our mouth So there I was. I didn't go forward in obedience. I was afraid of what she would say or how she would respond to me. Now, when I look back, I think to myself how unimportant that stuff I feared is. Life is short and God has given us a job to do. We cannot assume we will be here until we're completely comfortable doing the work He has called us to do. God doesn't always care about our comfort. He does care about our trusting Him. In order to go forth not feeling secure in ourselves or what is to come, we are to find ourselves secure in Him.
We as followers of Christ need to be confident in Jesus and walk in that so that we can be obedient, no matter what! We need to remember our identity in Christ. What does it matter how people respond to me? People will not always accept me, what I have to say, or my beliefs. That's okay. They felt the same way about Jesus. John 15:20. We may not have it as bad as Jesus did, but we are told to expect persecution. However, we must not allow fear of that, or not being accepted keep us from doing what God has commissioned us to do.
Loving someone as our self takes a lot. If I knew I had to do something in order to save my life...guaranteed...I'd do it. I'd fix my eyes on my survival and endure whatever it took, because I'd know that in the end, my life would be spared. That's how we need to live out and share the gospel. We are guaranteed an eternity with God. But He told us through Jesus that we need to share this news with others.
If we fix our eyes on Jesus, who happens to be bigger than our fear--and any other situation we deal with--we are able to let go of the fear, and walk in confidence. We would be able to boldly complete whatever He may commission us to do.
Finally, if I love my neighbor as I love myself, I must have a desire, a true desire, to make sure that person's soul will be saved. Or at least, I've made an attempt by sharing the gospel (After all, that part isn't up to me, it's up to God). I must share the gospel with them. They will either reject it or accept it. My job is just to complete the task God has mapped out for me.
I walked the block searching for that woman, telling God that I'd come right our and tell her how much Jesus loves her if He put her in my path again. He did not.