He Loved Them

 

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One of my favorite bible verses is John 13:1. I read it one time and it was different from many of the other times I read it. It was that translation that drew me to it. The verse means one thing taken alone and another when taken in context. Both ways are powerful so let’s take a look at both.

when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (he now showed them the full extent of his love) John 13:1

       In context after the verse, we see Jesus wash the feet of his disciples showing that even the Son of God was a servant and showed humility as an example of how we are to live. If this world were to set pride aside and love each other with a servant’s heart, we would live in a much better place. A place that is one step closer to Heaven and the presence of God. This verse, in context, showed that Christ wanted his disciples to understand a very important lesson about his followers having a servant attitude and heart.

       The verse that first caught my attention and stirred my spirit had the words shown in prenthesis above. Instead of focusing on what comes after, my heart reach toward the beginning of the verse. Jesus knew that his time to go to the Father had come. It was time for him to be betrayed and crucified. Knowing that time had come, he was now going to show the full extent of his love to his diciples by dying for them even though they were not ready to fully understand his sacrifice. Imagine the love it takes to go to the cross when his disciples, and many people today, still don’t understand or accept his sacrifice. Imagine as a parent you sacrificing your well being and happiness to a child who may never understand or acknowledge your sacrifice. Although that is supposed to be our job as parents, the selfishness of this world draws parents away from the love our Father showed us by allowing His son to die for us.

       Neither understanding of God’s living word is incorrect. The lessons Jesus came to teach us are so numerous that his words live forever and grow in the hearts of his followers through the help of the Holy Spirit, the helper that Jesus promised us as he joined the Father in Heaven.

       Read this verse and see that Jesus loved his disciples to the end of his life and he continues to love us until the end of time. Don’t miss his perfect life and sacrifice for your sin, and don’t miss the servent’s heart we are called to have as we follow Jesus.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends – John 15:13

       Sometimes laying down your life means putting the well being of other before yours. Laying down your life could be death it could also be humility. Both require sacrifice, the laying down of your own self-interest and ambition.

Holy Seed in a Calloused Heart

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“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land. (Isaiah 6:9-10,13)

          The first verse here, from Isaiah 6, describes those who walk blindly through the darkness of this world. They have access to the holiness of God but refuse to let it penetrate their heart and cause changes that lead to sanctification. They miss the fullness they have access to in Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross. The biggest hindrance is people’s refusal to submit to God bigger purpose for His people. They can’t imagine that they are not the center of His movements in this world. The thought of suffering or becoming a servant leave them seeking gratification in their own way. The constant struggle against the pull of their hearts toward their Father cause them to become calloused so that the desire for God becomes dull. They fall into the trap of putting their desires over those of God. God desires that submission to Him and a deep relationship rooted ion love would lead our desires to become His desires.
          The voice of God becomes drown out in the business associated with self-servitude and self-gratification. The calloused heart isn’t the pliable vessel where the Holy Spirit is meant to thrive and shine forth the light of God through His children. When a person wrapped in the cords of the enemy comes to the end of themselves, they are then in a position to receive the greater gifts of God. Their eyes can then see, ears can then hear, and hearts can then receive the power found in Jesus Christ through their weakness. They can then turn to the faithful Father who stands patiently waiting for His children so that none may parish.
          The second verse above talks about the holy seed of God. In this case it refers to the remnant that God uses to carry His glory through time even as the people turn away with callused hearts. I think of this as the holy seed found in every person that we refer to as a conscience. God speaks into our spirit and writes His moral code upon mankind made in His image. Even in a calloused condition the draw toward God, the empty place we look to fill with lesser things, still causes us hardship and struggle. Acknowledge the holy seed that pulls at you when God isn’t first place in your life. Never let your heart become so calloused that the Holy Spirit cannot shine through your life. Refuse to let yourself be ruled by your fleshly desires. Be restored to, submitted to and led by your Heavenly Father so that your life finds the purpose and joy for which it was created.

Image of The Lord’s Servant (Conclusion)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

When the Lord’s servant is able to become active in the right way as described in 2 Timothy, God is able to grant them what they desire. That may be a changed heart that leads to repentance, but they may serve a bigger purpose than we can see. It is our job to lay God’s groundwork so that He can glorify Himself, through His will being accomplished, through His chosen. Adopt the qualities the Lord offers you just as He has adopted you so that these qualities could be yours. Don’t look past your purpose but serve God’s kingdom and let His bigger and better plan come to fruition. (Matthew 5:14-16) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Image of The Lord’s Servant (4)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Correcting his opponents with gentleness

Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. As the spirit matures in the Lord’s servant there is an outward manifestation of kindness in their heart, referred to as gentleness. It’s rare for people to enjoy correction. Only true Godly wisdom allows such a quality to exist. (Proverbs 9:8b-9a) reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Most correction isn’t truly accepted or appreciated until much later than when the words of reproof are spoken. A servant must realize this and be gentle as to insure that the seed of correction that has been planted has a place to grow that isn’t damaged by emotions. They must also realize that gentleness draws people in as they sense the softness of the correcting heart. This also leads to trust and mutual growth as later correction is better received and more easily given. These are the relationships where God’s spirit is allowed to move and stir maturity in His children.

 

Image of The Lord’s Servant (3)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Patiently enduring evil

There is patience in love. Love is patient and love is kind when its source is the Lord. Evil returned for evil only magnifies the darkness of the world. It requires a selfless spirit fueled by Jesus to show patience when evil tries to cover up the love to which we are called. It is almost certain that resistance of one evil moment will not change a heart, but patience as the evil is drown out by God’s love creates real change. The light of God drives out darkness just as the deceiver will flee in the name of our Savior.

Image of The Lord’s Servant (2)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Able to teach

Not only should a servant study the word, they should be able to lead others to the truths revealed to them by God. The Lord places truths in the hearts of servants who seek Him in order to serve His specific purpose. (Isaiah 55:11) so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Those truths can be told and shown to others through the action of His servant in order to spread His love to the people He has put into their lives. The word of God is not something we are meant to keep to ourselves, but to share with a lost world.

Image of The Lord’s Servant (1)

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(2 Timothy 2:24-26)  And the Lord’s servant must (1)not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, (2)able to teach, (3)patiently enduring evil, (4)correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

 Not Quarrelsome but kind to everyone

Don’t let a quarrelsome nature or a misguided passion turn you from a person or cause them to turn from you. Progress toward the power of God’s grace is made through our humility. Just as His power is made perfect in our weakness. A heart doesn’t change in a quarrel, only the emotional mind is affected. Hearts change in the presence of love in humility and kindness. The passion that leads us to defend the position of God will guide us into arguments if we are not careful. Rely on the love God gives you to overflow to every lost soul and let the kindness, which is a fruit of the spirit, develop fertile soil which God will use to do as He sees fit. Don’t step into a place God desires for Himself. God calls who He chooses to Himself for His glory. Let your kindness set the stage for God to act.