John 15:12-14 (NLT)
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
I hate cancer. I mean as much as it is humanly possible to loathe something I do this with all that is within me. It is my mission and goal in life to cram cancer right back down the devil’s throat. I fully intend to bring love, hope and encouragement to as many as I encounter suffering from this disease and expose them to faith in Jesus Christ. I will love and support every single spouse, parent and loved one who is watching their beloved endure the treatment, side effects and suffering associated with this disease. It is crazy how the Lord turns terrible things out for our good. Every detail of our life is packed with promises and purpose even those we find unbearable. God never intended for our life to be this way. We chose it when we decided we wanted sin more than Him. Thanks to Jesus Christ we now have a way back into God’s Presence as He invites each person to walk with Him. By faith, this brings confident hope to every situation and circumstance we face in this life. The Lord has promised that He will make everything new and it begins with you. (Revelation 21:5) We have the God-Given Power and Jesus-Authorized Ability to change every outcome in our life.
Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Jesus loved us by laying down His Life so that we could be saved. He opened the door to freedom from sin, death and the grave. His Power and Authority is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. We must use this for God’s Purpose and not our own. God designed humanity to walk in close fellowship with Him. Look at the lives of great Biblical figures such as Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8-9), Enoch (Genesis 5:23-24), and Noah (Genesis 6:8-9) who are noted to have lived in close fellowship with God. Abraham achieved righteousness before it was offered by the Lord living in agreement with God by faith. Now that Jesus Christ has offered the ultimate sacrifice, we are called to lay down our lives for our friends and that is exactly what I intend to do.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
As we walk this journey with our son, I have encountered many people who are in the same situation that our family is in. We are all walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Many have lost their loved ones to cancer. These same individuals have now given their life to cheering on our son. They want Him to win the race, cross the finish line and be healed of cancer. They love us, support us, and encourage us. My brother and his wife have graciously housed me during many trips to doctor’s visits, treatments and tests for our son. They have lived a life filled with love and close fellowship as they offer of themselves following the example of Jesus Christ as well. I refuse to be a victim and our son feels the same way. We are choosing victory over victimization. We dare to plan the future in the midst of staggering odds. But something is missing that is until last week.
The news rocked me to my core and I was instantly overwhelmed by tears. Another young person now plagued by this devastating diagnosis, oh how I hate cancer. But not just any form of cancer but the exact same rare type our son has. A hit close to home in an old high school friend from my youth group. I know this mom’s pain. I feel the depths of the waves of confusion and chaos when an already difficult and hectic life is upended by the unexpected. I know the horror of going from the one praying for such people and becoming that person. I could feel the Spirit of the Lord stirring inside me. I am now her advocate. I reached out to her but have heard nothing back yet I know that I will because there is purpose and meaning in every step of my life thanks to Jesus Christ. He did not design us to walk alone no matter how hard the enemy tries to isolate us in life. We must all learn to offer our lives in love to experience the fulfillment of God through Jesus Christ. Without a sacrificial gift of our life to others, we forfeit the blessings of the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
I used to carry my Bible to school. It was an act of worship in that I truly wanted to share the Gospel with other people. I wanted to be a disciple but didn’t know how to do it. It’s like wanting to be a teacher but knowing nothing about the subject you teach. I knew that there was power in the Word of God, but it had not become relevant in my life. I had not attained enough knowledge and wisdom. The Word of God was not practical to me yet because I did not fully comprehend all that it meant in my life. I carried it to school because my youth pastor encouraged us to do so. But now that I have studied the Word, tried to do what it says, allowed the Holy Spirit to explain it to me and give me insight something has changed. The Word of God is now the powerful weapon that it was intended to be in my life. (Hebrews 4:12) Through trials and tests, my faith is now secured by confident hope that the Lord can and will deliver in my life. I know His Word so now I know His Will even when I do not understand His Way. Now I have something to offer other people, but it is still a sacrifice of self to do so. We learn to overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. The Grace of God demonstrated through Jesus Christ allows every situation that we face to work out for our good, future and hope. The word of our testimony is our profession of faith in God and confident belief that He can and will do it. Those who walk in such confidence can show others the way. This is what the Lord wanted us to do and we must learn to do it again to please Him with our life.
John 13:34-35 (NLT)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
It is not uncommon for people to become caught up in their own problems. Life will wear you down and overload you if given the chance. But we have the opportunity to transition the burden of our life to Jesus Christ and share His Love with others. We do not have to worry about the law anymore holding us back or restricting us. Grace opens the door to freedom that we may come boldly to God asking for what we need. His Spirit is inside of us pulling us and tugging at our heart to move in the right direction. Those who do will walk on the Highway of Holiness. (Isaiah 35:8-10) Even when all hell is breaking loose around them, they will walk in peace. They can keep their eyes open rather then slammed shut by fear. They can listen for the cries of the fallen because they are led by God’s Word, Will and Way. Grace is an opportunity to lay our life down for others effectively. We can actually advocate for others as Christ advocates for us. Are you will to fight for someone else’s success? You are not just asked to but it’s a full blown commandment of Jesus Christ. The only commandment that He gives His Disciples.
Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT)
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must give genuine effort to imitating God and living in the example of Jesus Christ. We are living in those evil days. Bad things happen to good people. Good people die young for no reason. Love has grown cold. Sin is rampant. It’s just the way that it is. God didn’t tell us to give up. Christ did not die for you to throw in the towel. You have been promised abundant life. Giving ourselves to others and laying down our life for our friends is the first step in claiming such a life. We must live carefully. We must live intentionally. We must make the most of EVERY opportunity to be a light in this world even when it is not convenient or comfortable for us. We have the Holy Spirit. He is working in us and through us to do the Will of God and follow the example of Jesus Christ. We were not created to walk along but live in close fellowship with God and His Kingdom.
Acts 2:42-47 (NLT)
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity-all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
I have a pastor friend who could squeeze blood out of a turnip and never even touch it. People just give him stuff. Not just old junk or unwanted items, but cold hard cash. He is probably the most generous person that I know. He has a heart for those people the world has forgotten and the Lord has blessed him for it. If more believers devoted their life to generosity with their time, talent and treasure – there would be revival in the House of God. We do not live as Christ intended anymore. Social media and texting allows us to conduct our relationships at a “safe” distance. The early church understood the mandate of Jesus Christ to love one another laying down our lives for each other. Their awe of Jesus Christ made following His Example the highest priority in their life. Perhaps if we looked beyond ourselves into the lives of other people, gave up our comfort zone to get in their mess, to pray for them, encourage them and love them even when we have nothing to give but a shoulder things would start to change in the community of believers we call the church. Their whole life revolved around serving the Lord, worshipping God and adding to the Kingdom no matter what the cost. People got saved every single day.
Ephesians 5:21 (NLT) And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Yes my heart broke for the teenage who is facing the same opposition that our son has waged war against. But more than that I feel compelled to advocate for this family. It would be easy to say that after all we have so much on our plate, but I refuse to do so. This is not about me but Jesus Christ. I own Him everything. I will pray for them. I will be here if they need anything. I will be there if they choose to walk with me as sisters in Christ. God has been so good to me, I want her to see His Goodness in the midst of tragedy. Faith has made all the difference, I want to encourage her to walk by it every step this journey takes them so they will find confident hope in the end. God broke my heart in that moment and I found love for them simply because Christ loves me. It is inside of each of us who believes. Will you allow the Lord to break your heart for someone else today? They cannot be reached from your comfort zone. After all, Jesus went all the way to the Cross to reach us. It will not be accomplished flippantly but you must pursue opportunities fervently. God has allowed the experiences in your life to be changed for your good as faith is renewed, confident hope discovered and a testimony written – you will overcome when you ask others to “walk with me!”
Philippians 2:1-5 (NLT)
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.