Hebrews 13:1-6, Matthew 5-6, Romans 12:9-21, Luke 10:27; Jesus, Christian Living, values
Values serve as the foundation for how we operate. We act based on what we believe is important: if honesty and integrity are valued, then we don't lie or cheat or steal or deceive. When Jesus brought you new, eternal life, He also brought a superior set of values.
The core value Jesus gives us is simple: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself'" (Luke , ESV).
It's the value or law of love, and it goes two directions. First, upward: Love God, value what He values; honor Him; treasure Him with everything you've got: body, soul, strength and mind. Based on that, your actions will not dishonor God; you will not put other things before Him; you will seek to please Him, to follow His commands, etc.
Second, the law of love is outward: Love your neighbor as yourself. What you'd do for yourself, be willing to do for others. This value influences actions and attitudes towards people around us; we're willing to make sacrifices and seek good for them. If I love my neighbor, I'm not going to cheat him, to covet what he has, to do him harm, to lie or deceive him. When love motivates us, it becomes a whole lot easier to keep God's commands.
This is radically different from the world's value system. That system focuses entirely on "me": what I want, how people cater to me, getting more for me, even to the point of self-worship. We put ourselves first so there's no room for God. We work for our own benefit, so there's nothing left to give to others. It's "me first" all the way, and that's not what Jesus wants for you.
Jesus lays out His new "kingdom values" in Matthew 5-6. Read through some key verses and see what reflects the law of love.
•How are these different from the values we're used to in our world?
•What are some ways you need to practice these new values in your life?
Luke is really the foundation for Christian living: Love God; love others. It sounds simple but, as we all know, the hard part is actually doing it. Hard, but not impossible. Remember that as a child of God, you have the help of the Holy Spirit, "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians , ESV). Remember, too, that this love is a conscious choice, not a hopeful feeling. You choose to love as God loves you--as Jesus loves you, even to the point of sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:1-6 and Romans 12:9-21 offer you the practical nuts-and-bolts of love in action.
•What instructions are we given?
•How do these reflect love for God? Love for other people?
•Pick two or three specific areas from these passages you need to do some work in; how could you make this change in your life?
•Ask the Holy Spirit for help and commit to doing what it takes to live by this new value.
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My Comments: I have found in my short life that when one loves or puts others before themselves, as Christ did, then they are happier and more productive and do not have time to think about themselves and their problems. When you think about it that is amazing! It almost seems counter intuitive and it certainly is not the worldly thing to do (which should give everyone a light bulb effect of Ah, Ha!)
Depression is caused by the world’s way of concentrating on oneself. Murders are caused by one concentrating on oneself. Theft is caused by one concentrating on oneself and so are adulteries and anything else we can think of. Self is at the root of all evil. We would not have all that vainglory and pride if it were not for thinking of self.
Christ did not think of himself when He went to the Cross. He thought of us. The bad thief on the side of the Jesus hanging on his own cross thought of himself and you didn’t hear of Christ saying he would be that day in heaven; it was to the other one who looked to Christ and defended Him.
So get out there and look to the needs of others and let the Lord take care of you and your needs. We do not need to build our self esteem we need to care for others lovingly, so they can see their need for the Lord; so they will live and not die.
If we love God we love others and look outside of ourselves for His answers and His leading and His compassion for others. We go to the source of our strength, our love, our knowledge and our understanding. We go to God and we follow Jesus Christ the Son of God who did nothing but what the Father wanted. He put God the Father first and submitted His will to the Father even unto death on the Cross to save us all from our sin. Then He put us second (others) so we could be with the Father and Him and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
Abba, we pray you give us the guidance, knowledge, understanding and discernment needed to bring us to a greater understanding of how we should live our lives and when we should and who we should help and how we should help them. Help us to see that we should not lean on our own understanding and only lean on Yours and be directed by You in all we do. Give us the courage we need to be more Christ like and keep our minds and our bodies and our every thought and deed centered on You. Help us to live our lives in You and for others as Your Son did. We praise you and glorify You Father and seek to live our lives for You as You Son, Jesus, did. Thank you Father for Your Love and Your Grace and Your Sacrifice for us. Thank You Father for Your love of us. Amen
His Servant and Yours,