Sunday, February 8, 2009

What Does Love Have to Do With it?


Okay, you've been warned....

James 4:17 (NLT) says: "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! That just gets me... OUCH again! I came across that verse as I was studying about Caleb in Joshua 15. Of course, I was off on one of my many "rabbit trails" which is what happens as I'm preparing for our Wednesday morning Ladies Bible study. The ladies will never know how many "trails" I take until I know "that I know" I'm on the right path for our weekly study! I learn a lot so I'm definitely not complaining (I love it when the Lord shows me things on those little excursions). But how did I get to the Book of James in the New Testament from studying abut Caleb in the Old Testament, you may ask? Good question! And I actually know....
It starts with Caleb setting a good example as a leader of his tribe, then as a father to his daughter Acsah and as father-in-law to Othniel. I believe it's evident by the fact that Othniel became the first judge of Israel after Joshua's death that his faithful influence carried over to the next generation.

Here is my observation: Caleb's godly leadership and influence to his family started early ( he had quite the extended family considering at the age of 40 he was chosen from his tribe to go out and spy the LAND with eleven other leaders).

Remember Scripture said that he had a "different spirit" and that he "wholly followed" the Lord. This influence reminded me of the Scripture in 1 Peter 5:2-4 (see how my rabbit trail takes off!!!) This is from the New Living Translation:"Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly -- not for what you can get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor."

I really appreciate what the Life Application Study Bible says about this Scripture. "Peter was taking his own advice as he worked along with the other elders in caring for God's faithful people. His identification with the elders is a good example of Christian leadership, showing that authority is based on service not power." (NOW read Mark 10:42-45) It goes on to say:"Peter describes several other characteristics of good leaders in the church.

1. They realize they are caring for God's flock not their own.
2. They lead out of eagerness to serve, not out of obligation;
3. They are concerned for what they can give, not for what they can get;
4. They lead by example, not force.

All of us lead others in some way. Whatever our role, our leadership should be in line with these characteristics."

"And when that Great Shepherd appears..." What better motivation for selfless service!!!

So, what does love have to do with it? EVERYTHING!

Galatians 5:13 says "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."

So why the convicting verse at the beginning of this blog?I believe it was a reminder from the Lord FOR ME to serve Him well, without complaining or being overwhelmed because "there's so much to do and I'm only one person" (that's my victim mentality breaking through, can you relate? - I'm determined to get victory over that!). But God is so gentle and faithful in reminding me that I'm His servant, so I must serve His people and because I know what I ought to do and if I don't do it -- Scripture says that it's sin. Which means I'm missing His mark of perfection for me!

You see, God gives each of us gifts so that we can serve Him fully and encourage the spiritual growth of the body of believers.

My hope and prayer is to lead by a faithful godly example. (I'm so not there yet but I'm pressing on and I'm grateful God's not given up on me!) As I pursue Him and make Jesus my focus in every situation I know He will lead me and help me! He just likes/loves me enough to do that. I am a blessed woman! And another wonderful thing about my Savior is that His mercies are new every morning!

I do hope that whoever reads this will find themselves seeking to know the Lord, desiring His Word to be active in their life and to have a burden to serve in the local church by using the gifts God has given because the Body of Christ functions best when the members work together for the common good.

Where there is unity in the body I believe, (actually I know) the Lord is pleased. So, just like Caleb we have an opportunity here to influence the next generation by walking in love and serving one another in love. You see, love has everything to do with it!

Standing Firm in His Grace,

PS If you are desiring a deeper understanding of leadership and influence in the body of Christ, may I suggest doing a word/scripture study on "love one another" it will truly be an eye-opener and a blessing in your life.

Don't be upset with me, I warned you not to read this blog! :-)

(1 Cor 4:2; Luke 12:48)
Abundant blessings as you seek the Lord and grow in His Agape!

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