Sunday, August 5, 2018
We Are Here To Do Great Things! #JesusFollowers
Why are we here on the earth? What is our purpose in this life? For millions, these questions haunt their existence and trouble their souls. But there is a Way we can follow that answers these questions. For those who call Jesus their Master, and seek to follow him and his path, the answers come easier.
WHAT should we do with our lives? Jesus tells us that we're here to love God and love others, and serve God and serve others.
Jesus said we should seek to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, house the homeless, visit those in prison, and comfort the widow and orphan. (Matt. 25)
HOW do we do this? We can begin by doing it by committing ourselves and then... by starting to do what God calls us to do through His chosen Son, Jesus. By Repenting - committing to that kind of change, and asking God for forgiveness for past misdeeds and lack of love we've shown - that starts this process.
This isn't a throw away line, and this LOVE - Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves - isn't the same weak "love" we use to tell others that we "love" chocolate, or salsa. It's a deep, complicated love, and it will take a lifetime to perfect.
A final question is CAN we do this? This level of service and love, for some, doesn't come easy. But we can be assured that we have the ability within us to do what is right and what is good because God says we can do it, and created us with the ability to do all that He asks of us.
We can find verification of God's expectations for humanity by looking to the Hebrew Scriptures.
God told Adam, the proverbial first man, that he could do what was right. He later told Adam's son, Cain, that he could do what was right, too, if he chose to do so.
Both Adam and Cain had the inborn freedom to choose. The fact that in these cases they both chose to do what was wrong with their choice means they, alone, were punished for it.
Perhaps that is why these stories were included in the Hebrew Bible, so we would know that we had a true choice.
In Deuteronomy, we learn that God assures human beings that His commandments are, "not too hard for you," and that God's moral law is "is in your mouth and in your heart, SO THAT YOU CAN DO IT." (Deut. 30:11, 14) Isaiah writes, "Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well." (1:16)
Isaiah also has no doubt that human beings can, "cease to do evil, and learn to do good."
And many have read the verse in Joshua, in which he says, "choose this day whom you will serve," (Joshua 24:15) The choice remains with us to choose to serve God.
Jesus is completely consistent with the Hebrew Bible in his belief in our ability to do what God asks.
Our Teacher and Master said he did all things that pleased God (John 8:28). He also said we could do all that he did, telling us that we are to be "perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect." (John 14:12, Matt. 5:48)
If we need courage and encouragement to serve others, we should start by reflecting on the gifts we've been given by God, our Creator, including the inspiring, perfect moral life of Jesus, and seek to follow that path perfectly, seeking God's forgiveness when we stumble.
Jesus taught that if we call him our Master, we must seek to follow him, doing all that he had done. (John 13:15; 1 John 2:4-6) Based on his teachings, we definitely have the ability to do great good, if we choose to take up his path and seek to do Righteousness, as he did. It's the choosing that can be hard sometimes, and we will stumble in our efforts, but that does not diminish our ability to do the good, which is God-given.
Just as Jesus frequently did, we may call upon God in prayer for further strength, and be assured that we may obtain it. As James, his brother, wrote, we can always seek greater wisdom from God. (James 1:5)
So, Jesus said we were able to do what was right. He believed that God gave us the ability to stand tall before Him, with willing hands to serve others and bring forth God's Kingdom here on earth.
It only remains for us to pick up the challenge Jesus lays down for us, and begin doing good in his name.