Monday, August 17, 2009

Words of Encouragement

Love Motivates
                                                                                                                          When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.  - John 21:15-17

On yesterday, my pastor preached from this scripture. He titled his message Motive of ministry. As he was preaching there were several notes I took. As I wrote I knew this would be our lesson for this week. This is not his message. What in fact happened was as he preached, he sparked things in me that I believe the Lord was showing would be important for us this week.

There are several points this scripture brings to mind that is important for us to look at regarding our walk with God.

1. Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. - The reason was to help Peter understand what Christ is looking for from his followers. The question of do you love me, should spark us to ask ourselves this question. Do I do for Christ because of duty or am I motivated by the love within my heart. If one does for Christ it would seem logical that the answer is yes, it is love. Unfortunately this is not always the truth. Sometimes we have faulty reasoning or understanding about what is required of us from God. We believe if we "do" then that is what makes us safe. But if love is not the motivating factor we miss what Jesus was trying to present to Peter, if you love me, you will feed and care for my sheep. He did not says feeding my sheep shows you care, he said loving me (first) will motivate you to care for my sheep. See the order. That is what matters to God, putting our love for him in the right order.

2. Our love for Christ will motivate us to seek what we can give. - Peter was distressed when Christ asked him three times if he loved him. Why was he distressed? Peter was distressed because his love for Christ was important to  him and his desire was to show that love. He thought the questioning of Christ was in fact a doubt of his love. However, sometimes God has to challenge us, call us out or remind us by questioning us, do you love me? He does it to motivate our love for him to seek what is it you require of me. What can I give to you? If any believer is to be what Christ has called them to be, they must allow God's Spirit to challenge them about where they stand in God. Are you motivated to to give yourself to God? Are you so passionate about your love for Christ that you seek him daily to see what you can do to honor him?

3. Love motivates us to make everything about God and not about us. - This is one of the most important things any believer can understand, that this walk, this life is not about you, but about God.  I often tell people when they ask me why I do not promote myself, or seek for speaking engagement that this is not my ministry. I am not promoting myself. If God wants me to speak, he will direct the person to come to me. If he wants my book to be in different places he will open up the doors. I know this is considered unwise by some, but I know what God showed me. He told me he would promote me all I have to do is obey him. "If you love me, you'll obey me" is often what God speaks to me when I am trying to "win" my own way. It quickly reminds me of whose ministry this really is. So if we love God we will not seek to promote ourselves, our agendas or our plans. In fact we will simply find great pleasure in simply obeying what he tells us to do.

4. Love motivates us to love like Jesus loved us. - Jesus was also telling Peter a vital lesson in his question. What he was saying to Peter is if you love me as you say you do, then that love for me will motivate you to love others as I love you. I can say all the right things and appear just right, but if I do not love the people God loves (that is everybody) I miss the mark of what love means to him. Love to God means I am willing to pour myself out, I am willing to pick up my cross, I am willing to take the abuse, the rejection, the mocking, etc. all for the cause of Christ which in itself is to reach people. Christ came and died for sinners (me included), that's people! If we do not love people and seek to reach the lost can we really say we love God?

This week I pray for many that are going throught some difficulties and maybe you feel others have forgotten you. Maybe you have a need and you just need someone to walk alongside of you today. See, when Christ ask me, Jewel do you love me, and I says yes I want him to say, yes I see you are feeding my sheep (caring for those that need me.)

I pray that God would touch each of you this week that read these words. Father open financial doors for those that stand in need of a financial blessing. Touch bodies of those that are sick. Heal emotions, spirits and bodies. You call us to reach out to others because of our love for you so through this prayer may you touch the needs of those that are standing in lack this week. You are the provider. Give clarity to someone this week that is in need of direction, because you are the way maker. Heal, comfort, touch and bless. May you glorify yourself this week in us, this is my humble prayer, Amen.