A Topic in Christian Living and Reflection
Connecting and getting to know God, our Father, gives such a great amount of joy in a daily Christian life. Serving Him rewards us with comfort and great desire for Him. Although, we can point out so many things about glorifying Him, even God says it’s not enough. One might point to a fact that human beings cannot glorify God like Jesus can, but the real argument I want to clear up on is, “If serving, glorifying, praising, worshipping God is not enough, what must we also do while we live in flesh?”
If we have a relationship with God, should we also have a relationship with others as well?
The answer is yes, and I have several passages from the Word of God we can all look to.
One of the Pharisees in his time asked our Lord a question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)
Jesus replied with three answers in Matthew 22:37-40.
1) Love the Lord with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind. (37)
2) Love your neighbor as much as yourself. (39)
3) All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.
Why did Jesus say these things, first of all?
From what I was taught from several ministries, the Pharisees, Jewish leaders, and the people around Jesus, first of all, did not have an authentic relationship with God.
Jesus called God his Father. In John 5:16-18 shows that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus for calling God his very own father because he was making himself equal with God. The case was actually about showing the position they were in. The people only called God THE Father, instead of calling God THEIR Father. Jesus previously spoke to a Samaritan woman about true worshippers of God. True worshippers of God worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24)
This supports answer one from the main question. We must worship God with Spirit and in truth. The Spirit is our heart, and our soul. The truth is our mind that aligns with the Word of God.
Going back into John 5, there was a pool called Bethesda where so many of the sick and disabled lay. There was one specific man who has been disabled for 38 years. He was then cured by Jesus and was told to pick up his mat and walk. This was happening on a Sabbath, and the Jewish leaders saw this man carrying his mat. I’m not sure if they knew before that he was disabled, but the first thing that caught them is his mat instead of his past condition. Before the healing occurred, the man said this after Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well.
“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7)
This caught my attention about the relationships that people were having with others around that time. Before I get into this part, carrying your mat on a Sabbath day was viewed as working on the Lord’s Day, referencing back to the 4th Commandment of His Law to only rest on the Sabbath. Carrying your mat was actually a man made Jewish Law that has nothing to do with work. Jesus telling the paralytic to carry his mat and walk during a Sabbath Day was done intentionally to get their attention so he can tell the leaders of his relationship with God by the way. John 5:41 and 43 is remarkable:
1) I do not accept glory from human beings.
2) I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.
This supports answer two of my main question. We are like them, and maybe usually, we pick and choose others, tending to leave others behind who don’t seem ‘worthy’. Jesus commanded to love others as much as we love ourselves, not love only the ones we are acceptable in society.
When Jesus said that the Law and the prophets hold on to these two commandments, he was stating it as a fact, not an suggestion, opinion, or interpretation. I will be using Hosea as an example: Hosea is a prophet who was commanded by God to love his unfaithful wife Gomer. Unfaithful as in she was a prostitute. God was giving one of the greatest examples about what true love is through Hosea’s harsh life. The gist of the Prophet Hosea is found in chapter 3 verse 1.
“Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes,” the Lord said to Hosea.
This passage shows that prophet Hosea was holding on to God, and also to Gomer. He loved God with all of his heart, his soul, and his mind. He loved Gomer, even though she was not like Hosea, or anybody that Hosea would find acceptable, tolerable, etc. He held on to these two commandments, thus proving Jesus right. This passage really hit me so much, and because of Hosea’s gospel, I was saved through those words, seeing God’s love for me, for you, and for all of us. This supports not just answer three, but all 3 answers of the main question, and hits it home.
Now, that we understand that, how about we look into our relationship with God, and many others in our life? We are going to emphasize the relationships with others more actually. The reason is that our relationships with others can be extremely difficult for all of us, and I’m not just talking about our relationships with our family, or our own friends. I want to use the teaching that Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman which is “Spirit and in truth.” I learned this great lesson from a great teacher by differentiating these two things.
1) Worshipping God only in Spirit is considered idolatry. (Samaritan example)
2) Worshipping God only in truth is considered hypocrisy. (Pharisee example)
3) Worshipping God in Spirit and in truth is a must. (John 4:24)
I wanted to go deeper with that example, except that we will not worship others because it is not good to do so anyway. This is an amazing discovery by going deeper into this teaching of Jesus. I realized that by taking this lesson from our Lord, I wondered about my relationship with others recently.
I loved my friends and family without having to know much about them. I use to defend them, care for them, and even give to them by only by a little knowledge of their life. I was giving them praise, blindly because they just seemed to be so good in life. Wouldn’t that be considered idolizing your own friends? Did I just make them into heroes, or even gods?
I had friends who I knew most of their life. Some may consider them that I was their best friend because I knew so much about them. Yet, even though, with all the knowledge I have about them, I also had no compassion towards them, and still, they were considered my ‘friends’. Didn’t I just tell you that I was being hypocritical? Was I lying to them the whole time?
Without those two things, our relationships with others are futile because it shows that we are not truly reflecting in God’s standards for our daily living, and also, not following the greatest commandment given to us.