ONE YOU LOVE?!
This sounds really strange, doesn't it? I mean, it seems completely contradictory. I don't know anyone who does this day in and day out, do you? There might be a break in communication every now and then, but if you love that person, there will be a restoration of communication and relationship, right?
Well, here's a little story for you. There was a young man named Bill Thompson who lived with his parents. He was about 15 years old. His dad and mom, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, were really good to him. They provided good food, a nice house, and good clothes. More important than that, they provided a lot of love and spent a good deal of time building a relationship with their son. His dad would always make time to talk and play with his son. His mom was always there faithfully cleaning clothes, cooking meals, cleaning up and ready with a warm hug and words of encouragement.
Then one day, something really amazing happened. While Bill's dad and mom were sitting at the breakfast table one Saturday morning, Bill came down and didn't say 'good morning'. He went to the refrigerator and took out the milk, and went to the pantry and took out the cereal and sat down. His dad and mom were somewhat shocked. They said, 'good morning son son we said good morning ', but Bill just ignored them. He slid out his regular wood chair and sat down at the same table where his dad and mom were, but didn't say a word to them, nor even look at them. After breakfast was over, Bill got up, cleaned his dishes, and went on his way. All the while his dad and mom were saying, 'Bill, what's the matter? Can't you hear us or see us? Why aren't you answering us? Please say something son
Bill's dad and mom kept trying to communicate with him, but he just ignored them as if they were not there. This happened day after day after day, month after month. Bill would do his chores without any joy - because he remembered that he should do them for some reason - but Bill would continue to ignore his parents day after day. Bill would not respond to their efforts to communicate with him. He would go in and out of their house, taking and using the good things that his dad and mom provided. He would do the bare minimum of what was necessary around the house, but he would not have any type of relationship with his dad or mom. As far as Bill was concerned, his parents did not exist. Amazingly, Bill's parents put up with this for many months.
What would you do in this situation if you were Bill's parents? You would change the lock and not give Bill the new key, right! What you should be saying is, "man, how incredibly rude, cruel, mean and wrong of Bill to do that. This guy Bill is seriously selfish and incredibly ungrateful. I can't believe how patient Bill's parents were to let him stay around for many months while he was completely ignoring them and taking for granted all the good things his dad and mom provided in the past, and continued to provide".
Is this what you were thinking about Bill? Here is another little story for you
There was a king named David. He had everything anyone could ever want. He had wealth and power and popularity. He even had many wives! But one day, while his armies were off fighting one of his kingdom's battles, he went up on the roof of his mansion, and looked down towards the roofs of the common people's houses, and saw a beautiful women taking a bath, for that is where the bath's were placed in those days and in that culture. King David called his servants and told them to go and send for that woman. The woman's name was Bathsheba, and she respectfully responded to the king's call, and went to the king's mansion. Sadly, king David took advantage of Bathsheba and forced himself on her sexually. Bathsheba was married to a really nice man named Uriah, who was a soldier in king David's army. As a result of David's sin, Bathsheba became pregnant.
David thought that he could manipulate his way out of the situation by calling Uriah back from the battle and making Uriah go home and be with his wife so they would think the baby was from Uriah. However, when Uriah came back from the battle and David asked him to go home and enjoy some time with his wife, Uriah refused due to his loyalty to David! Uriah said, 'how could I go and relax with my wife while the king's soldiers are fighting in the battle field? I'll sleep in the gate of your mansion until you tell me how I might serve you in your army'. Thus Uriah refused to go be with his wife. David saw that his plan wouldn't work, so he made another plan. He told his general to place Uriah at the front of the most fierce battle, and then draw back so the Uriah would be killed. David did this, and as a result, Uriah was killed.
David thought he had covered his sin. He thought he had gotten away with it, so to speak. He took Bathsheba as yet another wife, and life continued for David as if nothing important had happened. Until one day, a good friend named Nathan came to David. He told David a little story. He said, "David, there were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the eve lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him." David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, that man who did this deserves to die". Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!"
You see David didn't see how Nathan's story related to him. He didn't realize that it was a perfect parallel with what he did with Bathsheba and Uriah. David had pronounced the death sentence on himself!
How does this story relate to you, you may ask? Well, remember how the young man Bill had ignored his dad and mom? Remember how you may have said, "man that Bill dude is a no good, selfish ingrate who deserves to be thrown out of his parent's house". My question to you friend, is do you ignore Jesus of Nazareth just as Bill ignored his parents? Think about it and don't make the same mistake David made. Don't try to run away and hide from the truth. Look at your past week and count how many times you talked to Jesus in prayer, or listened to him through his Words in the new testament. How many??? [link to Do You Love Jesus?]
You see, our own sin always looks worse on others! We are quick to condemn others sin, but very, very slow to condemn our own sin! You might say, 'man, can you believe that Joe is cheating on his wife - what a loser', while at the same time you're viewing pornography on the Internet behind your wife's back! 'Oh, it's not the same', you may say. Really, then why did Jesus say, "You have heard it said, 'do not commit adultery', but I tell you that whoever looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart."? Matthew 5:27-28
You may say, "I don't ignore Jesus". Great, that means you remember his commands and teachings much of the day, and talk with his Father in prayer many times each day, and that you read his Words in the gospels regularly, since you enjoy communicating with the one you love so much, right? Well, do you? [link to Do You Love Jesus?]
You see friend, Jesus loves you so much that he was willing to come to the earth and be rejected and killed in order to show us the Way to heaven. But that was just the beginning of the story. He rose from the dead three days later and is alive right now, seated at the right hand of the Father, guiding, protecting AND COMMUNICATING WITH those who truly love him. He is also constantly reaching out to those who don't yet know him. How does he communicate, you may ask? Through speaking to his own by his Words in the gospels.
You may say, 'I don't ignore Jesus, I go to church every Sunday'. Well, Bill took the garbage out every Monday, yet he still ignored his dad and mom. He did what they wanted yet chose to ignore them relationally. In fact, Jesus doesn't ask you to 'go to church'. No where does he command, 'go to church'. Rather, those who truly love him and obey him are the called out ones (or 'church'). Jesus doesnt want you 'taking out the garbage' ("going to church") and ignoring him in the process. Rather, He wants you to have a living, vibrant, real relationship with him, eagerly desiring to obey his commands so that you may please him. [link to Do You Love Jesus?]
You may say, "I don't ignore Jesus, I'm a Protestant, or I'm a Catholic, or I'm a Pentecostal, or I'm a Baptist", etc. Jesus doesn't ask you to be labeled something other than a follower of his! Bill may have told people that he was a "Thompson", but his parents didn't care whether Bill was telling other people what his name was. Rather, they wanted him to talk with them and have a relationship with them. The same is true of Jesus towards you. Are you reading his Words to you in the gospels? [link to Do You Love Jesus?] Are you obeying him?
You may say, "I have a personal relationship with Jesus". Great, then you know him and what He wants for you, right? I mean, if you don't know what Jesus teaches for those who claim to be his disciples, then do you really know him? As Bill choose to ignore his parents, did he really know them as time passed? No, because relationships are real and current and ongoing. Sadly, there are many who claim to know Jesus, but all they have is some intellectual knowledge about him - some historical facts they could regurgitate on a test. But Jesus doesn't ask you to know things ABOUT him, rather He asks that you KNOW him personally - He wants you to freely love him back. Jesus says, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command". (John 14:15) [link to Do You Love Jesus?] Do you know what Jesus teaches regarding what true love really is, and who you are to love the most?
Do you claim to love Jesus, yet ignore him? Don't deceive yourself one more moment. If you love him, you will want to get to know him, and you can do that only by reading HIS Words in the gospels. If you're not reading his Words regularly, and thereby getting to know him, then you are ignoring him as much as you'd like to deny it. You can be as religious as you want - do as many "Christian" rituals and traditions - go to "church" seven days a week, and yes, even read his words with no intention of obeying them. But if you are ignoring Jesus, just as Bill ignored his parents, then you are no less selfish and ungrateful as Bill is. [link to Do You Love Jesus?]
Would you like to stop ignoring Jesus? Are you ready to admit that your life is empty and hopeless without him? Do you really want to stand before his Father when you die and explain to him how you "really loved his Son" while essentially ignoring him all your days? Do you want to turn away from your ignoring Jesus, and thereby your unbelief regarding Jesus?
As you read this, perhaps your heart is affected. Perhaps you see how you have been ignoring God - not living up to his desire that you love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Perhaps you can see for the first time that you are GUILTY of the greatest sin, which is you never had true faith in God and His Son? You knew ABOUT God, but you never entered into a Life of true faith. You might have even been trying to serve the God you did not personally know, but this is not what God wants. If you are truly seeing this spiritually, then you should be experiencing some fairly strong emotions associated with what is happening inside you now. Jesus calls this repentance, which is true remorse over your unbelief and sin.
So, what does God want of you right now, at this moment? It is this simple...believe His Son...listen to His Son...trust in Himself and His Son. This is what God wants of you right now. Don't play the fool and turn away. Don't reject a love so great that a loving, compassionate Father sent His beloved Son, knowing His Son would be horribly mistreated and killed because many would reject His love. Admit that you have been one who has rejected His love up to this point, and then turn from your unbelief and sin and start to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Make Jesus your only personal Teacher, Master, Leader, Lord, King of your life, and then you will know Life. And then you will have been truly born from above, or born again! And if you do this, rejoice as you have entered into salvation! Rejoice as you have passed from death to life...from darkness into Light! Rejoice that you have been received by your Father who is in heaven, and who has been waiting for you to come to Him your whole adult life! Rejoice that you are now a child of God, beloved by a compassionate and all powerful Father!
What does God want of you after you are born again? He wants you to get to know Him and His Son. The best way to start this process is by reading Jesus' Words to you in the gospels. Get a New Testament if you donít already have one. I would recommend these translations Ė the New American Standard or the New King James Version. Read the gospel of John in the New Testament, and then read Matthew, Mark and Luke. Don't make the great mistake of thinking that all of the bible is God's Word, for it is not [see Is the bible God's Word?]. Jesus is God's Word to man, thus the only guidance you need on how to live your life to please God is Jesus and his Words and teachings ONLY. Keep reading his Words in the gospels and start to DO what you see him saying to you. Only if you obey will you be able to grow in your personal knowing of his Father and himself. To continue in the Life that Jesus gives you, you must be faithful to him, and that means to receive what he teaches, and try your best to do what he says.
It is very important that you know that if you do not thirst to know Jesus, by reading his Words in the gospels, and by desiring with all that is in you, to obey ALL his commands, then you have not entered into His salvation [link to Do You Love Jesus?]. You must also know that Jesus says that if you want to be his disciple, you must forsake what this world has to offer in order to follow him (Luke 14:33). Do not be afraid of Jesus or his commands, for he is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Ask Jesus to show you the things you need to start giving up in order to follow after him.
If you need some disciples to stay with, our house is open to you.
May the Lord bless you and protect you!
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