Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Through My Window Part II

     In Part I, I covered three qualities that God looks for as He gazes into our heart window:  prayer, conduct including our speech, and Bible study.  As we grow in our faith, these qualities should also be more and more evident in our lives as we travel the highways and byways of this life.  God, after all, is working to conform us into the image of His dear Son.  There are, however, three other qualities that serve to help us grow in our walk and provide a clear testimony to those outside the covenant of grace.
     First among these three is love.  When we first fall in love with Jesus Christ as our Lord, Redeemer and King, we are excited to share with others the Good News of our salvation.  We also want to do all we can to please the Father in heaven.  This is what I call the "honeymoon" phase of our love for God.  However, as time passes and troubles come, we tend to neglect our love relationship with the Lord and this affects all other qualities I previously mentioned.  This is the place where we need to remind ourselves of what Jesus instructed His disciples in John 14:15:  "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments."  Then again in John 14:23 Jesus said:  "If anyone loves me, He will keep My word, and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him."  Our obedience, then, reflects our love for Christ.  In addition, when we love the Lord, His love then is able to flow out to others.  Jesus says in John 15:12:  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
     When we entered into covenant relationship with God through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, the Lord gave us a new heart capable of loving and obeying Him.  This new heart also has the ability to love others even as Christ loved us.  In fact, we can even love our enemies when we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with the fruit of His love.  This kind of love is far more than mere emotion.  Instead, it says, "I love you in spite of any flaws I see in you."  The world cannot love like this, so they will notice when we do.
Our love for God is reflected in how we love and treat others.  A good way to check ourselves is to see how well we are doing in our relationships with our family and friends.  If things are not going well, it could be that our love for God reflected in our obedience to Him is not what it should be.  Remember, the quality of our vertical relationship affects all our horizontal relationships with our fellow man.  We need to remember Paul's admonition: "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (I Cor. 13:13).
     A second quality we want the Lord to find as He gazes at our heart is that of service.  When we love others, we want to serve them.  A true leader, according to Christ, is first a servant.  The mother of two of his disciples made a request that each of them be given a seat next to Jesus in His kingdom.  Of course, this made the other disciples irritated at these two.  However, Jesus made clear when He spoke these words:  "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" ( Matt. 20:25-28).  Clearly, the Lord demonstrated, many times, His humility and service.  He washed the disciples feet in a display of love and service to them.  Then, He gave His life as a ransom for those who would call upon His name.
Love and service go hand in hand.  Practically speaking, we cannot be good leaders, teachers, pastors, or disciples unless we are willing to serve the needs of others.  Again, this is contrary to the way in which the world thinks and acts; therefore, it becomes a powerful testimony of Christ's redemption in our lives.
     Finally, a quality which is so often overlooked in our hustle, bustle lives is fellowship.  The fellowship of believers is critical for our growth in Christ.  In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer says:
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near"
(Hebrews 10:24-25).  The purpose in gathering together is to worship God and encourage one another.  Rubbing against other saints, like iron sharpens iron, refines us in our faith and makes us able to withstand the arrows of the enemy.  We have fellow soldier/servants who stimulate us to good deeds and pray for us when we are down.  Why do we neglect something so valuable?  We comprise the Bride of Christ, and we know that wherever two or three are gathered He is there with us.  No man alone is as strong as he could be with the assistance of brothers and sister in the faith.  Fellowship provides the platform for accountability when we sit under the teaching of God's Word and interact with other believers in corporate worship.  Our lives will be enriched when this is present on a regular basis.
     All of these qualities are tied together and enhance one another.  The question is, "Are we allowing God to build these into our lives and will He see them when He peers into the window of our hearts?"
Prayer, our good conduct and right speech, Bible study, our love of God and fellow men, service to others and fellowship in worship are all reflections of our new heart in Christ.  When we display these, the world will notice and God will receive the glory.  We are made to shine for Him.
     As I look through my window each day, I delight in what I see.  I know that the Father in heaven delights in us when He looks into our hearts and sees these qualities in full bloom.  Meditate on this and examine your heart in light of His Word.  May we bring praise to God the Father when He looks into the window of our heart!  Selah!

I welcome your comments here.  Please leave an insight, word of encouragement, or thought here.  I enjoy reading them.

P.S.  All the pictures are taken from the windows of my home with my new camera.  It is a delight to be able to share them with you.  If you would like to use one, please ask me for permission.  Thank you...hope you are blessed!


Libby said...

This morning I was meditating on the scripture in Psalm 139: 22-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Great post Barbara and I love the pictures! :)

Anonymous said...

Very true. It's easy to just act (argue with someone, etc.) without realizing how it could be reflecting our current state of faith. There's always room for improvement.

Barbara Thayer said...

Great Psalm to be looking at Libby. That is what God wants us to do. He wants us to examine ourselves and allow Him to point out areas we need to work on. As you can tell...I am working on my photography. Slowly but surely!! :)

Barbara Thayer said...

Yes Harma Mae....there is always room for improvement. I have been working on this for forty years in Christ...still working and will continue to do so till the Lord brings complete perfection in me at my home going. Thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by as always!

Penned Pebbles said...

Great reminders, Barbara! Yet, I often feel so inadequate. Thank you for pointing the way to HIM!

Prayer, conduct, love, service... if we were left to our own abilities and strengths, we'd fail miserably in all of the above, because life isn't perfect. Our 'acting' in the flesh only suffices as long as we're not squeezed. Thank God for drawing us to Himself, for giving us the strength to do and to say things that bring Him glory, for loving us first, and for giving us an advocate and sympathizer for all our difficult and clumsy moments of servitude. We're never told that it will be easy, but we're told time and time again that He will never leave or forsake us.


Barbara Thayer said...

Thank you for your thoughtful response Petra. I agree...if it were not for the Lord, what would we do? How could we keep the window of our soul clean and shiny without the help of God? By His grace we are able to live our life to His glory. As always, it is good to see you stop by my friend. Love the things you write on your blog.