Say you’ve had this friend for years and you’ve gone through so much together. You were neighbors or childhood best friends, and your friendship seemed inseparable. All of your birthday parties were held together and you always sat by each other the first day of school. Then, as time went by, so did the friendship. You get stabbed in the back by your best friend. It stings. Maybe they spread a lie about you. Maybe they ditched you for other friends. I don’t know, you tell me.
Or say you see a person in need and decide to go out of your way and help them. Lets say you stop and help someone with directions in your city. Then while you are pointing every which way to help them find their destination, they take your wallet and run. You are left with your mouth wide open and empty hands. Have you ever been there?
In this world, we get hurt and tossed aside and forgotten a lot. Sometimes it really shakes us up and we don’t understand why this bad stuff is happening to us. Sometimes we may wonder why are these people in my life if they’re just going to hurt me?
As a Christ follower, I know exactly why we are sometimes caught in uncomfortable, awkward, or hurtful situations with people. In Matthew 10:22 it says this, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” I know that because I am following Jesus that there will be many trials in my life including situations with the people that are in my life. We were never promised an easy life where we get treated fairly. We are told straight from God’s Word that people will treat us differently than the rest of the world because we choose to follow Jesus. We have a name, a reputation. Some people are not going to care or like that decision throughout your lifetime. In my life, I’ve seen that people that may hurt me and make me angry are the ones that teach me so much about how to live for Jesus and what it means to show love no matter what. These people are the ones that show where my heart truly is. I learn a lot from these people. Giving them that credit is hard because I have been hurt by some. But if I say that I want to live like Jesus did, I also need to love them no matter what. My pain doesn’t compare to the pain Jesus went through when He walked this earth. Yet He loved us so much that He was willing to die for us and He did die for us.
Do I love people that much? Enough to give up my life?
This Sunday I lead worship at my neighbor’s church and there was also a guest speaker who talked about these things. He talked about the condition of our hearts. What he said really hit me as he talked about what the Bible says about our hearts and how we put love to action.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
How we choose to love determines a lot in our lives. As Christians, we know that we are saved if we truly believe in our hearts and declare with our mouths that we believe in Jesus and what He did for us. Our hearts need to be in good condition. We know that. But so often, I see my friends living life as if they were going through the motions. Why? I think its because their heart believes in Jesus on the inside, but they are not displaying that on the outside.
We don’t serve to get into Heaven. Its by nothing we do that we are saved. It is by God’s grace and His son who died for us. When we accept Him into our hearts and our lives, then we are saved. But so often, I see my friends and others living life as if they’re set. They don’t want anything more than a reassurance that their future is set and they’re going to Heaven so then they live life however they want to.
On Sunday morning I learned so much about the heart and what it means to have a heart that loves Jesus.
Let me just say this: our hearts change when our outward actions do. Serving and loving others no matter what. When we do something about our faith, thats when our hearts “grow” and learn the most.
We say its not about serving so we don’t focus as much on that. Its all based on our hearts right? I think serving shows where our hearts are. Its a new level. Its a deeper level. Its a declaration of how much we love Jesus by wanting to show Him. So don’t think focusing on our hearts means we just focus on ourselves. Focusing on serving others is a heart after the Lord’s.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So when people hurt you and forget you and kick you to the curb, remember this: How you respond is more important than what happens to you. When it comes down to it, will you choose to love?