Tag Archives: fear

A Fierce Love

The love of Jesus is beyond our comprehension. We get a glimpse of this in the foot washing episode of John 13.

In a few hours, Jesus will face a mock trial. He will be flayed without mercy by sadistic soldiers. He will face mobs of people who cry for His death though He has likely healed many of them. He will die by crucifixion, a death so obscene that no respectable person mentioned it. Our tame pictures of the crucifixion do not convey what Jesus endured. Varnished church crosses numb us to what He actually experienced. 

All of this loomed over Him and was on His mind. Yet just a few hours before His impending death, He thinks of His disciples and their comfort in one of the most humbling and trifling of details—their feet. He, their Master, even takes the role of a lowly servant and washes each disciple’s feet, including those of Judas Iscariot who will soon betray Him, and Peter who will deny Him with curses. Soon, the others will flee and abandon him, leaving Him completely alone to His executioners. 

He knows all of this will soon take place, yet He performs this humble task anyway. 

All the gospels portray Jesus’ disciples as dull learners who, over the past three years, forget what He says almost as soon as they hear it. Yet He says to these twelve pitiful men, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.” His love for them never wavers in spite of their habitual stupidity.

The love of Jesus is stronger than death. It is a fierce love that stops at nothing, is discouraged by nothing. His love accepts the full reality of sin but completely overrules and overcomes it by good. It crushes every lesser thing in its path. 

Charles Spurgeon once said: “Earthworms are miserable company for angels . . .yet love made our great Master endure the society of His ignorant and carnal followers.” His great love is conditioned by nothing.

In contrast, our own weak and sentimental love is conditioned by a thousand different things. We are always getting offended by something or someone. We allow trivial things to divide us. Political correctness is a symptom of how unloving we have become as a society and within the church itself.

We are told that only about 4% of today’s young people maintain contact with the church. The church remains unattractive to most because they see church people as unloving. They fear coming to church to hear more rebuke than encouragement. They are aware of their sins and feel guilt over them. They hunger for redemption and release, but they do not hear it.

Once more, the church needs to experience the fierce love of Jesus that stops at nothing and will not let us go. This is the greatest weapon by which we fight the works of the devil. This is how we defeat fear and hopelessness. This is how we stop medicating ourselves with materialism and worldliness. The fierce love of Christ restores relationship and ends mere religion and legalism.

When we recover the fierce love of Jesus, we will have the one thing for which the rest of the world hungers. May that day come sooner rather than later!

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Humbled by Grace

One day, we will stand before God to account for our lives. On that day, we will see Him in all His glory, majesty, holiness, power, righteousness, and truth. On that day, we will see with our own eyes why He is King of kings and Lord of lords. On that day, we will worship Him.

How we worship Him now should really become a warm-up for that day. Worship is learning to know God for Who He is and knowing ourselves for who we are. One good thing to keep in mind: He doesn’t need our worship, but we need to worship Him because our very humanity depends upon Him alone.

What does this mean in real life? John 4 gives us a good model of true worship…

A Samaritan woman approaches a well alone, to collect water. A woman of low repute from a despised minority, she comes in the heat of the day to avoid the stares and whispers of those who look down on her. She is a woman who thinks little of herself.

She meets Jesus at the well. Because of who He is, we can be sure He was waiting for her.

John records the conversation. Jesus’ insightful line of questions and comments reveals the woman as one who prioritizes material things over spiritual, and who at best probably follows only perfunctory religious practices.

By the conclusion of the conversation, the woman has become a new person. She discovers that in Jesus, she was talking to God. She discovers that God delighted in her. In spite of her disgraceful failures in life, He saw something in her worth redeeming, something precious nobody else saw, including herself. All at once, she has new hope, new joy, a new future she never thought possible.

That day, the Samaritan woman saw God as she never saw Him before. That truth about Him touched her spirit in deep, personal ways and transformed her life. She responded by telling everyone she met what happened. She wanted everyone to meet this One who was like no other.

That day, the Samaritan woman experienced what Jesus meant when He told her, “He who worships the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” She learned that worship means meeting God, bowing in submission to Him, delighting in Him, loving Him and enjoying Him because it became obvious He delighted in her.

Jesus was not put off by the things that caused others to shun her because He knew what He could do in her life. Change came, not through religious practice and habit but in relationship. That message to the Samaritan woman is just as true for you and me as it was for her two thousand years ago.

Like that woman, each of us has things in our lives of which we are ashamed. We fear judgment by others. Do we experience the King of kings like the Samaritan woman did, in His kindness, love, wisdom, patience, joy, strength, tenderness, peace, humility and generosity? Such a relationship evokes the true worship of humble repentance that brings transformation and joy.

Let us truly and humbly bow our hearts before Him. Then we, too, will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Like the Samaritan woman, we will want others to meet and worship Him who is like no other.

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