Heartless?

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“How could you say that I don’t love her, Pastor? I go to work, maintain a home for us, and come home every night.”  I knew that the marriage was troubled, not by infidelity, not by abuse, not by misuse of alcohol or drugs. It was dying of neglect! They were keeping a house, but failing to build a home, their lives seldom intersecting at any level resembling true intimacy.  Yet, when I suggested to that husband that he was not loving his wife as Christ loves the Church (our model!), he grew indignant. He was completely unable to understand that huge emotional debts were piling up that could collapse his marriage. The ‘heart’ was dying.  Was he ignorant about or indifferent to the pending calamity in his marriage? That I could not say.

Do you love Jesus well?  It’s not a silly question. Did you know it is possible to be living a moral life, giving regularly to your church, showing up in the church building a couple of times each month and yet know next to nothing of a deeply devout, truly intimate love of Christ Jesus?

Jesus spoke to a church that was doing the right things but lacking heart. His words, which I read this morning, left me in tears. Read them thoughtfully. “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’

And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3:15-20, NLT)

What He asks of us is not emotionalism, nor is it attempting to stir up some type of attachment to the things of the Lord. True love is expressed by a focus on the beloved, a choice to prioritize the relationship and to stay engaged with the other person. Feelings of intense connection will sometimes be stronger due to the many factors that effect our emotional state. Genuine love rises above the emotions, enjoying them when they are strong, but remaining steady through all of the up’s and down’s.

Do you ‘walk with Christ Jesus’ each day, inviting Him, through the Spirit, to be part of your thoughts, guiding your choices? Do you pause at regular intervals to listen and wait? Do you make His interests your interests? Do you share your needs and joys, petitioning and praising?

Our Christianity is meant to be so much more than a few words of devotion spoken during a Sunday morning gathering. He desires to be our Friend and our Lord, in addition to being our Savior for eternal life.

In John’s Gospel, there is a record of Jesus’ long conversation with His disciples at the Last Supper. In that talk He tells them that He is their Friend and reminds them that true friendship goes beyond being a buddy for some shared hobby. He asks for loyalty and obedience.

By those measures, can you call yourself a friend of Jesus?  The rewards that comes from building that kind of resilient relationship are many – peace, strength, hope, joy, faith – to name a few. There is a quality of life that moves a person beyond living for the next dinner, for some pleasure, from treating others as mere objects to be used for our own purposes.  Yes, our Friend makes us nobler people to show off His glory through us.

Take this word from the Word to heart today. Consider the way that you are using time given you, the resources God has placed in your hands, the things to which you are giving your heart … and then, choose Jesus! “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:9-16, NIV)

_____________

What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Converse)

(The hymn by Jason Crabb)

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

 Have we trials and temptations
Is there trouble anywhere
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

 Are we weak and heavy laden
Cumbered with a load of care
Precious Savior still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Do thy friends despise forsake thee
Take it to the Lord in prayer
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there

Charles Crozat Converse
© Words: Public Domain

 

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

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