One of my favorite pastor/ teachers is Gayle Erwin. He truly seems to be filled with the joy of the Lord, and I am always encouraged when I hear him speak. I think perhaps Gayle has figured out the “secret” to happiness upon this earth~ loving others. Isn’t that what Jesus was trying to communicate to His disciples during His final days of teaching them?
“‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'” ~John 13:34-35
“‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.'” ~John 14:15
“‘Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do what I command you… This I command you, that you love one another.'” ~John 15:9-14, 17
So many people walk around this earth today self- focused. What do I want? How do I feel? What will make me happy? Why would that person treat me like that? How can I get what I want and be happy? And it leaves them miserable and depressed, riding the emotional highs and then crashing into deep valleys when things don’t go their way. What if they, we, changed our thinking?
What does he or she want or need? How are they feeling? What would encourage them and brighten their day? What is going on in that person’s life to cause them to hurt me like that? How can I help them? How can I serve others? How can I love others? How can I bring glory to my Father and obey His commandments and love others like Jesus does?
Some people work really hard to be unloveable. People are broken and mean and difficult to love. But so am I, and so are you. Yet “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8
God gave us an example of how to love others in Jesus. And He gave us the power of His Holy Spirit, because, let’s face it, we cannot love others like Jesus loved others on our own.
I am happiest, most joyful and at peace, when I am not looking at my own desires, hurts, wants and instead spend my time trying to love others and meet their needs. I am still selfish- oh yes!- but God is working on my heart, slowly and steadily.
I had a bumper sticker from Gayle Erwin’s ministry, “Servant Quarters”, on the inside of the windshield of our big SUV, that simply said, “Others”. It was a good reminder as I drove around to remember that it’s not all about me. Our new, smaller SUV has a smaller windshield, so I no longer have the visual reminder.
Please God, help me to remember that life really isn’t all about me. It is about You, and all the people around me, and showing Your love in this dark and broken world.