Last week we talked about what the purpose of our life was. We looked at the life of Saul and David in I Samuel and came to understand that our purpose in life was not necessarily to be shepherd boy, king or anything else but rather it is to “listen and obey” God. Or we could say that our purpose is to glorify Him by the way we love as stated in Matthew 22:37-39.
God’s first commandment was to love Him with our whole heart, with our whole soul and with our whole mind. Then He gives a second commandment telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Many people, especially believers, accept the fact that loving God, our neighbor and ourselves is “what” we are to do. However, not many of us know “how” to love in the same way that God defines it.
Clear definitions always help when being told what to do, such as:
When a child is told to clean up his room he will know the “what” but may not know the “how” in terms of the parent’s definition of clean. Understanding the “how” requires the child to learn what the parent means by “clean”. This is accomplished through observation and communication.
Unless we communicate with the One who commands us to LOVE and observe the way He LOVES we may fail to LOVE by His definition. For instance:
- A father does his son’s science project the night before it is due because he loves him and doesn’t want him to fail.
- A mother loves her daughter so much that she couldn’t bear to see her go hungry. Even though the girl forgets to take her lunch almost every day mom goes across town to drop it off which makes her consistently late for work.
- The coach allows Jeff to play in every game even though he doesn’t show up for practice half the time. He loves his teams and does not want to chance losing a game by making Jeff sit on the bench.
Would you say that the father, mother, or coach knew “how” to love? You may be surprised to hear that these individuals did not know “how” to love according to God’s definition.
It is important that we do first things first. God commanded us to love God first! Once we learn how to love Him we will understand how to love others as we love ourselves.
Since God is love (I John 4:16) it will help to take a look and see what He looks like. Oops, the Bible says that no one can see God (Exodus 33:20) so where will we get an accurate picture of what He (love) looks like?
Jesus said, “…if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Is Jesus saying that His physical attributes epic His Father’s image?
Human parents typically check out the nose, eyes or chin when their babies are born. Moms and dads tend to gloat over any feature possessed by their child that points to their own genes. This was especially true when my son’s daughter was born. No one could deny that she belonged to him. Same eyes, nose, and very large feet. Now that she is almost a year old we can even see that some of her behaviors mimic her daddy.
Jesus, however, was not speaking about the Father’s physical features. He was saying that if you observe Me and communicate with Me you will see what the Father looks like. In other words, the way Jesus acts or talks emulates His Father’s image (love) because He said that He did nothing but what He saw the Father do and said nothing but what He heard the Father say. How many of us could say that we do that?
Take a look at the following formula. C=M+E (See me) is a guideline to help us get to the point that we can say what Jesus said. The “C” stands for character which is expressed through one’s conduct or conversation. The “M” represents the mind/thoughts which are broken down into at least three categories: beliefs, values and convictions. Then you have the “E” which is one’s emotions or feelings. Adding the “M” to the “E” would be considered the root which produces the “C” known as the fruit.
C = M + E
The “E” should act as an alarm (an emotion). Everybody has their own “knowing” that says, “Pay attention here”? When this alarm goes off it is important to go to the mind (I call it the Mind Bank) and consider what kind of a withdrawal to make before doing or saying (C) anything. This is where many people mess up. They either don’t take time to think about what is in the mind or maybe they lack sufficient resources (thoughts) that would make it possible for them to produce a positive, loving result (C).
When making withdrawals it is important to understand that our beliefs, values, and convictions each carry a different weight of influence. Convictions are the weightiest because they are developed through truth and experience. Our beliefs often change, however, without much new information or experience. When thinking about what you think it is vitally important to know how to place appropriate value to each thought and to be able to prioritize them accurately when adding them to the mix.
In order to prevent producing bad fruit (C) it is important to thoroughly examine each thought and take captive (II Corinthians 10:4-6) anything that would not line up with the way Jesus would think. Once you get rid of it replace it with the truth. That will increase the balance in your mind bank.
Remember Samuel, Saul, and David? They lived before the days of Jesus so how did they know what God (love) looked like?
- When Samuel was very young he heard the voice of God (I Samuel 3).
- The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul (I Samuel 10:10).
- The Spirit of the Lord came upon David (I Samuel 16:13)
They each heard God either by the Spirit or God’s voice.
I Samuel 8: 6-7, 10, 21-22 gives an account of how Samuel prayed and obeyed. Then again in vs. 9:15-20; 10:1 and again in 16: 2-4, 6-7, 12-13.
What kind of “E” got his attention? How did he ultimately decide what to say or do? Did his fruit (C) represent/glorify God?
Take a look at Saul. I Samuel gives an account of the image he portrayed in vs. 10:16; 13:11-12; 15:1-24; 18:8; etc.
What name would you assign to each of the alarms (E) in the verses above? What kind of character was produced? Do you know what was on his mind that helped him develop that fruit? Was Saul loving God in what he did or said?
We did not discuss Jonathan last week but take a look at him in I Samuel 18:1-4. What alarm went off in him when he met David? What kind of “C” was produced? We read in the Word what was on his mind.
Now look at the accounts of David in I Samuel 16:23; 17:17-20, 26, 29, 32, 34-37, 45, etc. What name would you assign to each of those “E”s? What kind of “C” was produce? Did he glorify God? Did he love the way God would love?
It is vital that we are able to hear God and have the Mind of Christ in order to be able to produce fruit (character) that looks like love (GOD).
Next week we will continue this subject. There is a lot to understand and it takes time to listen then obey (apply). So until then, go through the scriptures presented in this week’s blog and grasp this portion of instruction so you will be prepared to add to your knowledge.