Today, I was surprised when we received a piece of mail addressed to our love able Beagle “Buddy”. The mail was addressed to “Buddy” Coomer at our address. So, I wondered who was writing our dog?! It was our local veterinarian sending our dog a birthday card! It had a “woof” cake picture on it. I thought it was neat and sat down and read it to Buddy. After he looked at me like “what is the matter with him?” I told Kim about it. She then sat down and read it to him again! We both must think the dog is a slow learner or something. It was one of those things that kind of brightens your day.
We rescued Buddy from a place called Beagle Buddies which is a place for abused Beagles about two years ago. After our Beagle, Maggie, died (she was 14 and we had had her from a pup) I was the one who wanted a new dog. Kim was like, “I don’t think so, it hurts too much when they die.” Well, I prevailed and I went to pick out Buddy. Guess who the dog follows around and likes to be loved by? You got it, Kim! I have asked Buddy about it several times, but he doesn’t have much to say about it. He does let me pet him.
Because he had been beaten up so much by an abusive owner he would cower and did not bark for six months. I took him to the vet and told him, “Buddy does not bark!” The vet said, “And you are complaining?” Finally, after several months and a lot of love he now trusts us and does not hide anymore when someone knocks on the door. Yes, you got it he now barks! Maybe it was better when he did not bark? No not really, I am glad to see the little guy who was so sick and beaten up when we got him now show his appreciation by wanting us to pet him and he will put his head on our chest and just lay there like “I sure am glad someone now loves me.”
Have you ever felt like no one cared for or loved you? In our counseling I find that many people feel that way. Christians sometimes forget there is one who loves them and cares for them. In fact, so much so that He sent His Son to die for our sins.
I find a disconnect in many people lives concerning the love of God and how it works in their life. It is a serious problem in the development of a balanced Christian life. Recently, I preached on this subject and I find many people just miss the point. After I got saved, I really devoured my Bible to find out what God was saying to me. I started out reading the book of I John. In fact, I read it over 30 times the first few weeks. I learned that the word love is used 33 times in I John. I encourage every new convert to read through the book of I John every day for 30 days. There is tremendous truth about the love of God in this little book. I John 4:8, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. I John 4:19, We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:11, Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. Three pretty important statements about love here.
I will never be motivated to care about another person and share the love of Christ with them when I don’t care about God’s love. I have studied the word compassion in the Bible and I was encouraged as I read about the compassion our Lord showed. I guess I had to ask myself, what kind of compassion do I have? My compassion for others comes when I have His love and not my love.
God wants me to have an intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with Him. I will never have that relationship and show forth the love of Christ to others unless I have His love. The question is how do I have His love?
1. I have to be willing to deal with my sin daily and completely. I have found so many Christians are professing salvation, but are in a mechanical mentality. They think they are spiritual by doing rather than being. Every day at the start of my day I want to ask God if there is any sin that stands between Him and me. When God shows that sin to me I must be willing to confess my sin, I John 1:9, and repent of the sin, Luke 13:3. Repentance means I turn from my sin and myself and turn to Him. I must change my mind about that sin from my thinking to His thinking. If the sin comes up more than three times in my daily asking of God about my sin, then it is a demand lust. It is a sin that is controlling my behavior, Ephesians 2:3. I will not be able to just walk away from that sin. The reason God is convicting me about the sin is because He wants it to change in my life. To get victory over my sin, I must find out exactly what God says about the sin. Ephesians 4:22-24 tells me I have to put it off and put on the new man by the renewing of my mind in God’s Word. Folks, I cannot under estimate the power of my sin or just sloppily go through life with it and not deal with it. The Bible is not an information book, but a transformation book, Romans 12:2. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….”
2. I must submit to His love. James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Many people do not know what it means to submit. It is as simple as “Lord I want to submit myself to you.” The Christian life in this principle is simply asking God questions. What do you want me to be today, do today, have today? What do you want me to pray about today? How do you want me to pray about this person or situation? What can I praise you for today? Who do you want me to witness to today? God is not interested in your and my abilities, but He is interested in our humility (submission). “Lord, I want to submit to your love today.” Romans 6:11-19, James 4:6, 10. Did you know not submitting myself to God daily means I live in pride and independence from God? In fact, the Bible says if I do that, “God resists me”! I do not want God to resist me but to give me grace (divine help).
In Galatians 5:22-23 we have the fruits of the Spirit. The first one in the list is love. Think with me, if I do not submit to His love I will not have the fruits of the spirit in my life. I am not going to spend the time here going through each fruit of the Spirit, but the 7th one in the list is faith. Hebrews 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please him….” So, it is possible to please God. How? By submitting to His love so I might have HIS faith, not my own faith. Many Christians live a powerless life because they seek to live the Christian life in their own power (a doer mechanical life). Galatians 2:20, I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me , and gave himself for me.
Did you notice here it says I do not live the Christian life? Also, I live by the faith OF the Son of God?! It does not say I live by my faith. So, if I submit to His love I have His faith. Big difference!
3. I must submit moment by moment every day. The devil always puts outside pressure on our lives daily (multiple times) through people or circumstances trying to get us to react in a non-Christ like way. It is at that moment, the point of spiritual impact that we have to submit to God. Rather than blowing our stack, growling, snorting, stomping, yelling, and other things we are to submit to God at that moment, Ephesians 4:29-32. We need to say, “Lord I want to submit myself to you and turn this over to you.”
We are to submit to His love to have His faith and to have His power. Then we will care about other people and their spiritual conditions. It is a miserable Christian life to live it in our own power.
Our church is growing at a dramatic rate. I want our people to care about others. Not is a sloppy, slurpy, and worldly love, but in Christ’s love. Recently, Kim and I went to Israel. We greatly enjoyed our time there. While Kim and I were gone for 10 days we had an Evangelist friend and his wife stay at our home and take care of Buddy. He also spoke in all the church services. Not Buddy, but the Evangelist (just wanted to make sure!) When we returned Buddy had endeared himself to them and took walks with them daily. (I think Buddy was a little spoiled when we got back with so much attention). My friend said, “Many of the people in this new church are just like Buddy, they just needed someone to care about them and love them”. Folks, people need us to care and have real Christ like love and compassion on them. You will never love people until you first submit to Christ’s love. When I do submit to Christ’s love I will find myself looking at the needs of others instead of looking at my needs all the time.
Selfishness is universal in our old nature. Only by submitting to Christ’s love will we be able to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit to break that selfishness. It is a simple yet profound truth that many of God’s people have missed which has caused real tragedy in their lives and in the lives of their children. Today can be a wonderful day if we start submitting to His love! We will be able to see clearly the need to help and love others if we submit to His love and have His power in our life.