by Matt Clark
Stop focusing on yourself. This is great marriage advice. Husbands and wives who put their spouses before themselves are treating marriage exactly how God designed it. However, this is easier said than done.
I have been married for over ten years now and still struggle to put my wife first daily. My selfishness rears it’s ugly head often. What I have found though, is that when I do things that she is passionate about, it makes her happy. For instance, my wife is always thinking of ways to improve our home; new curtains, different paint colors, changing the layout of a room, etc. Sometimes these ideas require me getting out the drill and doing some handiwork. When I complete a project, she feels loved. When I do something she is passionate about, our relationship grows.
What separates Christianity from other religions is that we have a relationship with our God. He is not some distant being who we cannot know. In fact, we only grow as Christians when our relationship with God grows. This means we need to know Him. This means we need to seek Him. This means that we should become passionate about what God is passionate about.
So what is God is passionate about? If you were to read scripture from cover to cover, you would see a continuous theme printed on every page; God’s love for His people. God created a perfect world for them. Most importantly, when they turned their back on Him, He made a way for them to avoid the punishment they rightly deserved. Over and over again we see God’s heart for His people. Do you share this same passion?
In the first chapter of Acts, we read about Jesus hanging out with His Apostles. This might not seem unusual if not for the fact that he had risen from the dead forty days earlier. He had accomplished what he had been sent to do and now it was time for Him to return to God. Listen to what he tells His Apostles.
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
WHO WAS JESUS TALKING ABOUT?
When Jesus was asked about the restoration of Israel, He changed the focus to everyone, not just the Jews. He essentially was saying, stop focusing on yourselves. You are going to receive the power to take my message to everyone in every part of the world. This isn’t just about the Kingdom of Israel. This is about people.
This can be a hard commission for Christians to follow. I know we say it, but do we really care about every kind of person? The easy way to answer this question is to think of who you have shown the love of Christ to lately.
Has it only been other Christians?
Has it only been people in the same walk of life as you?
When Scripture speaks of God’s love for people, that means everyone. Not just a select few that you are comfortable around.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
After Jesus ascended to heaven (which would have been amazing to see in person) His Apostles did what all of us would have done; stood there silently while contemplating what they just witnessed. We then read that two men approached them and asked them why they were just standing there.
Don’t miss this. When Jesus tells us to do something, He doesn’t want us to just stand there. He wants us to move. He wants us to be passionate about the task He has given us.
The two men finish by saying that Jesus will return someday the same way he went into heaven. This statement essentially gave the Apostles a deadline. Once Jesus returns, our mission is finished. Here’s the question; what are you doing with the time God has given you?
Do you love people the way God does?
Jesus left us with the greatest mission ever. To love His people the way He did. It was something He was extremely passionate about. Do you and God share the same passion?