Hello lovely people!
Okay, so the challenge this week has definitely got me excited.
‘Find a way to share the love of God in your local area’
I love it because its so simple and can be done in so many different ways.. I guess it could range from something as simple as picking up litter when I’m walking down the street to actually finding opportunities to share the gospel with people in my life.
I’ve never been one of those people who stands on a box in the middle of a busy town and shouts ‘THE END IS NIGH… REPENT’… In fact, I’ve never really got the point of it because, in my opinion, it starts everything off on the wrong foot.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m a broken person, and that without the forgiveness of Jesus I’d be lying face down in my sin right now not even knowing that I’m doing something wrong.. but I also believe that the root of Christianity is the grace of God…. and that it is because God picked me out of a hole and said ‘Hey, you’re alright, keep going, i love you’ that I can sit here today and say all of this with a smile on my face.
Recently, I’ve been learning a lot about how we are called by God to love people. I keep being reminded that Jesus was a friend of sinners, that he loved the outcasts in society and encouraged everyone else to do the same.
One verse that I have overlooked so many times but that I’m finally starting to realise the beauty of is Luke 10:27 which is where Jesus says, ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself’
If you were to strip everything else away, that’s what it comes down to, loving God and loving his creation. I remember doing a talk in Church when we got back from Mexico last year, and I talked about how the two blend into one…. When we surrender our lives to God, he starts to transform us so that we are more freely able to love. Now, that is not me saying anyone who isn’t a Christian doesn’t love… it’s me speaking from personal experience that God has enabled me to love and feel compassion for people I don’t know, and has introduced me to people who appear to love everyone unconditionally and who have challenged me hugely to do the same. That’s why I find this challenge so exciting, because its a chance to really put into practice the idea of showing love. I’ve realised something pretty recently, and that is that loving is simple, but it has major effects. The best example I can think of is when I went to Cardiff with some friends this time last year to see a concert… (sorry if I’ve told this story before, I haven’t checked, but its definitely relevant right now!!).
After the concert in the evening, we walked from the flat we were staying in to a shop just around the corner to grab some goodies for an evening feast… on our way, two of my friends realised a homeless man sat in the corner and went over to speak to him, bought him a coffee and sat down and spoke to him some more.. in the end.. we all did, and a moment which makes me laugh even now is when some drunken people on a night out stumbled past us shouting ‘OI.. What’s going on here then?!’… The answer we could have given them had they not continued to stumble off in the other direction was ‘just loving’. Now, I’m not going to take all the credit for this.. I joined in with my two friends who ‘made the first move’… but I honestly cannot tell you how much that struck me.. not only the boldness to do it, but the fact that they wondered over, no questions asked, because they knew that it’s what we’re called to do. They went back continuously during our stay and spoke to him a lot.. and I can’t help but think.. that is so the gospel being put into practice.. If they had ignored that man, he wouldn’t have heard about Jesus that day, and its moments like that which change people’s lives.
Next year, my school is hosting a Mission Week for all the staff and students, and I found out on Monday that the theme is ‘I can do small things with great love’. I think this idea sums up this weeks challenge for me… I’m not planning to do anything huge, but I’m doing it with love, through the love of Jesus, and I know in my heart that love is what it’s all about. This isn’t be making an excuse for not doing something ‘big’, its me acknowledging and in many ways, loving is like breathing.. it should just be natural to us to the extent that we don’t even think about it… and this is something I’m continuing to explore this week.
Thinking back to the verse in Luke, I’ve been reminded of a verse in 2 Corinthians 4:16
‘Though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day’
Like I said in my blog last week, God is stirring in me compassion and love for the people around me and teaching me to open my eyes.. what’s he up to with you?