If you’ve ever put much time and energy in reading the Gospels, you’ll know that Jesus lived an amazing life. His life was so much more than performing a multitude of miracles. He was also much more than just a prophet and a healer.
He was unique in every way yet He fit in with the common man and identified with their plight and hopelessness. The word charismatic has never fit anyone better
There’s never been anyone like Him, and there will never will be anyone who even comes close to His being. I was 40 when I first discovered the saving grace of Christ Jesus and realized I needed to allow Him to become the most significant figure in my life. Through Christ I found peace and purpose.
That’s not to say there haven’t been struggles along the way since that eventful day when I allowed Him to become Savior and Lord of my life.
Gradually, through the years I’ve come to realize I want to be more like Him in all His ways, yet I constantly fall far below the standard He has set for all who follow Him.
Sin causes us to fall short and we’ll be faced with that dilemma until we depart from this world. Living and Loving Like Jesus is a lofty goal! It’s an impossible goal, yet one all followers of Christ must set in their effort to please their Heavenly Father.
I was not a bad person earlier in life, but I was self-absorbed in most of my dealings. It’s a “dog eat dog world” and survival in the workplace is not easy at all.
In business, we compete against people who don’t always play by the rules. We may well face disappointment in missed promotions and opportunities to advance in our career paths. There are times when we get down about life and may even feel like just giving up. We might even succumb to taking shortcuts to reach our goals rather than waiting on the Lord’s provision.
Let me suggest a good read for both Christians and those of you who simply want to know more about the person of Jesus. Josh McDowell recently published a revised version of More Than a Carpenter with his son, Sean McDowell, which I suspect might drastically change your outlook on this critical subject. After all, Jesus did turn the world upside down during His short time on this planet!
Who could we better study than the God Man. Let me challenge you to read the new version of McDowell’s classic, which includes a new chapter Sean McDowell added for the 21st century mind.
So far we’ve been dealing with the living aspect of Jesus’ life. Now let’s delve into the loving aspect.
Agape love is not natural. It’s supernatural! In John 21:15-17 after His resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times whether he loves Him. The first two times He uses the Greek word agapao, which is the deepest form of love. The third time He uses the verb phileo, which is best understood as brotherly love.
Peter, who had denied Jesus when He went to the cross was obviously reluctant to respond to Jesus in any manner other than that of brotherly love since he knew his love was limited at this juncture.
Later, after Pentecost, Peter boldly took on the mantle of leading the early Christian church in The Way. From that point forward, he loved Jesus with all his heart and all his mind and all his strength and would eventually follow Him to his own cross in obedience unto death.
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate Jesus’ deep love for mankind is to quote the words of Paul found in Romans 5:7-8: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
There is no greater demonstration of love.
In summary, I’ve found that I not only need to love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, but I must also love others as I love myself. That’s not easy since not everyone out there in the world is lovable.
It’s easy to love a cute puppy or an innocent child, but many of us are pretty ugly on the inside. We don’t deserve His love, yet He freely gives it and we need to do likewise.
But first, we must come to Christ and allow Him to change our hearts as we receive His unconditional love.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at email@example.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.