Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Are You a Target?

When loving someone is easy to do, is it really love? If true love endures all trials, how long do I have to be in relationship with someone before I genuinely love them? What am I willing to put up with or what conditions am I placing on the receiver?

When my grandchildren run to the door to greet me, shouting, “Gwamma! Gwamma! Gwamma!” I feel loved. But any parent knows little ones can be selfish. They're often expecting to get something from you. Their love is often conditional.

Meanwhile, I demonstrate love when I change diapers, pull them in their giant wagon to the park in 90-degree weather, or bring correction when one steals a toy from the other. Sure, some of that is a joy to do. But I have options, such as laziness or impatience. No one can make me care for them from a genuinely satisfied heart. I have to choose love.

"Do nothing out of selfishness or conceit, but with humility consider others as more important than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (TLV)

True love involves sacrifice. My most memorable relationship challenge came in an unexpected package. Usually, when you receive a package in the mail your heart jumps with excitement and curiosity. You're not anticipating a bottle of poison or a bomb.

To show love in that relationship, I had to lay aside my opinions and honor the person's position of authority. I had to intentionally choose to put their needs before my own—while deflecting their belittling remarks. But as I cried before the Lord in the Secret Place, He showed me how each season must run its full course. In His great mercy, He gives every person many chances to change their way of thinking (repent) and turn back to Him. Before long, the more I understood the bigger picture, the more I felt honored to be His chosen vessel in that relationship.

"I want you to understand this mystery… so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ." Romans 11:25 (NLT) 

I am included in that full number.

Love isn’t about what I want or need. It's about the Bigger Picture—reconciliation with the Father. It's why Jesus gave His utmost yet was targeted by haters. He knew that just beyond the last hill of earthly suffering was an eternity of Heavenly Celebration with those reconciled.

Think about it. God is pure Love. He initiated it. Everything He created, He did out of Love. Any human act of genuine love, then, is an expression of Him. Therefore, as love-givers, we also become a target of the enemy, who opposes reconciliation.

No doubt you’ve experienced a few memorable "bombs." If you chose to bleed love, you’ve got scars as proof. To remain humble and persist at honoring hard-hearted people will never come easy. But knowing my eternal destination helps me keep the Bigger Picture at the forefront of my mind. 

Until the full number comes to Christ, I'm considering the bulls-eye on my chest a badge of honor. 

How about you? Have life’s “bombs” made you a little wary? 

Jesus is telling us, “Take My courage, for I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)

Are you still willing to wear the badge of honor? You can trust His Spirit.

Despite the “bomb” threat, who will you choose to genuinely love this week?

Copyright © October 2017 by J. A. Marx. Used by permission.

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