God wants to use you! What does it mean to live a useful life, a significant life? You can find no better example of a useful, significant life than Jesus Christ.
John 17:4 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
Jesus was able to confidently say He completed the work God gave Him to do! As we think of it, we should ask ourselves, “What can I learn from Jesus about how to live a useful life, a significant life?”
We can learn from how Jesus used His time, how Jesus handled the things in His life. But more than anything and what we want to focus on today we can learn about how to lead a useful life from how Jesus Christ handled His relationships. He is the expert in relationships. This is important because if God is going to use us, if were going to make an impact in this world, the main place is going to be in our relationships. You look at Jesus: that’s where He spent most of His life, that’s where He made His greatest impact — in His relationships with people.
I Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
If we don’t have love, everything else we do is just noise. If we’ve missed it when it comes to relationships we’ve missed it.
There are three simple principles that He shows us through His life about relationships. These are things that you already know but need to be reminded of. It’s incredible how just a little bit of focus on these principles that God gives us changes the way we do things.
We will go through it one by one. We will talk about it in details. We will start with principle Number 1 today. Praying that we will apply this in our life.
Principle #1. PAY THE PRICE TO VALUE OTHERS.
Mark 12:28-29 “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, Of all the commandments, which is the most important? 29The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
In other words, pay the price to value others. It’s one thing to know that other people are valuable. It’s another thing to pay the price. To pay the price of our time, our energy, our resources, our planning.
Have you noticed a gap between what we say we want and what we really do? We say we want to serve the Lord and others and have a ministry but then week end after week end goes by and we just don’t find the time. Something more important comes along, we don’t get the time that we want.
That’s the frustration gap. Jesus wants to teach us some things about how to handle that frustration gap in our relationship with God and in our relationship with others.
Since Jesus said this was the most important thing, we’re going to spend a few minutes on it this morning. How do I break through this frustration gap in loving others and in loving God?
Jesus gave us a list. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” What’s the most important thing that you and I can do with our lives tomorrow, this next week? Jesus said, The most important thing that you or I can do with our lives is love God. And He said do it with 100% of yourself.
We don’t divide our love in percentage! 20% for husband/wife; 20% for kids; 10% for parents; 3% for friends (depending on how many friends you have); and then, maybe, 40% for God because He is God.
The Bible said, 100% goes to God! Why? Because He’s the source of love. When I love God with 100%, I get 100% of His love back. When I try to divide it up — God, you get 20%, then I get 20% power back to love others. But when I decide to love Him with my 100% — with my all — the incredible thing that happens is, He loves me back with His all. He gives me the resources to love everybody else in my life.
“Love Him with all your heart.” — That’s feeling, our emotions. Jesus says, Love Him with everything you feel.
“Love Him with all your mind.” — That’s thinking. Jesus says, Love God with your thoughts.
“Love Him with all your soul.”— That’s being. That’s who you are on the inside, personality. Love God with your whole personality.
“Love Him with all your strength.” — That’s doing. Love Him with the things that you do.
Which one is more important? NONE! All of them are important. Jesus said love God with all of all of them. Sometimes our mind leads our heart. Sometimes our heart leads our mind. That’s why I need to love God with all of all four of these.
Practical ideas about doing this. How do you love God with all my heart, soul, and strength?
1. Tell God about your feelings.
Talk to God about your feelings. Tell Him what’s really on your heart. “God, I’m mad at what’s happening now! I can’t believe what You’re allowing me to go through.” And then listen.
If you don’t think it’s okay to tell God how you’re feeling, read the book of Psalms. David was great at this. He told God about what he feels all the time, his anger, his hurt, his frustrations and disappointments. And every time they end with his heart always better.
2. Talk to God about His greatness.
All of us tend to exaggerate our problems and minimize God’s greatness. Exaggerating our problems is something called worry. When we worry, we minimize God’s greatness, his ability to handle our problems. We need, instead, to exaggerate God’s greatness so that we minimize our problems. When we exaggerate God’s greatness, that’s something called praise. I dare you to over exaggerate God’s greatness. We have to try as much as we can to exaggerate how great God is, what a tremendous God He is.
Jesus also taught us how to evaluate our relationships with others. He said it very simply. “The second command is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s so simple.
We’re all pretty interested in ourselves. In a group picture you are in, who do look at and admire first? Yourself!
We ought to have that interest in our self in other people. God made them just as much as He made you. God has a plan for their life just as great as He has a plan for your life. Love others as you love yourself.
Love your neighbor. There’s a lot of things behind what a neighbor is. It’s anybody that’s in need, it’s anybody that we come in contact with. But real practical: We all have neighbors. Love them. It’s easier sometimes to love somebody in another province or country than somebody next door.
If we’re going to have relationships that work, we’re going to have to pay the price to value others. We have to, as it says in Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.”
We will continue the Second Principle on Friday.
God bless guys