Sunday, January 19, 2020

Loving Others Well (Love Where You Live Series)

Loving Others Well

Our next installment in the Love Where You Live Series is called Loving Others Well."  This post is part of a series led by my church pastor.  Part of our 2020 focus is our B.L.E.S.S. acrostic.

B - Begin with prayer.
L - Listen to them.
E - Eat.  Have a meal with them.  Jesus was often coming from or going to a meal.
S - Serve them.
S - Share the gospel with them.

Today we are learning how to better use our influence and voice to point others to Jesus.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Influence is powerful.  We need to use it to the glory of God.
Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.  Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. - Colossians 4:1-6
Colossians 4:6
This artwork is available here.

Paul is telling us how to use our influence and our voice to reach others for God.  He is telling us how to love.  Some people are not easy to love.  In order to love difficult people, we need a relationship with Jesus first.  Someone once wrote:
To dwell in love with saints above
Oh that will be glory!
But to dwell below with saints we know
Ah!  That's a different story.  (Author Unknown)
Les Parrott III wrote a book titled High Maintenance Relationships.  We are going to cover a few profiles in the book.

Types of Relationships to Consider While Loving Others Well

1.  The Critic

The critic is always complaining and giving unwanted advice.  The critic nags and like to point out the mistakes of others.  

2.  The Martyr

The martyr is the forever victim.  The martyr is always filled with self-pity.  This type of person is always negative, often saying things like, "Nobody likes me." 

3.  The Wet Blanket

The wet blanket is pessimistic and automatically negative about just about everything.

4.  The Super Star

The super star must be the center of attention.  The spotlight must always be on the super star.  This person feels like he or she must outdo everyone else.

5.  The Steamroller

The steamroller feels like it is his or her calling to set you straight.  

6.  The Control Freak

The control freak is a micromanager.

7.  The Backstabber

The backstabber will agree with you in private, but then say just the opposite in the presence of others.

8.  The Green Eyed Monster

The green eyed monster is seething with envy.

9.  The Sponge

The sponge likes to receive but he or she never gives.  

Would anyone identify you as someone on this list?  The truth is that we are all difficult to love.  How do we love difficult people? 

How do we love others well?

1.  Be devoted.

Be devoted, diligent, and strong.  Whatever or Wherever you are devoted to is where your time and energy is spent.  

What are you devoted to today?

*Be devoted to prayer.  Pray with alertness.  We need to communicate with God.  Jesus prayed.  He was a prayer warrior.  Do you have a war room?

If we are going to reach people for Jesus, especially difficult people, we must begin with prayer. You don't need to wait for an ideal situation to pray.  Paul was in prison when he wrote the book of Colossians.  

Pray with thankfulness.

2.  Be wise.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. - Colossians 4:5
By "outsiders," Paul is referring to people who do not have a relationship with Jesus.  There are people you work with or go to school with who do not have a relationship with Jesus.  We don't want to be a stumbling block for them.  We want to be wise.  Our lifestyle is a message.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. - James 3:17
Find points of agreement with people.  Be holy and different.  To make a difference, we must be different.  Make the most of every opportunity to love others and share Jesus with them.  

Some ideas people have shared are prayer jars, blessing bags, handwritten cards and notes, Christian music CDs, etc.

When God places people in your life, you are on assignment.  Wherever you live and work, you are a missionary.

3.  Be gracious.

Let's look at Colossians 4:6 again.
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. - Colossians 4:6
Be gracious with your words.  Are your words helpful or hurtful when you speak to others and when you post on social media? 
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. - Ephesians 4:29
Are your words healing?  

Salt has healing properties.  Let your words be "seasoned with salt." 
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. - Proverbs 16:24
Proverbs 16:24
This item is available here.
 Who needs you to speak words of healing to them right now?

Are your words hopeful?

There are people who think they are too far gone, forever condemned.  They need you to speak words of healing and hope to them.  You have influence.  Use it wisely.  Don't make it about yourself.  Make it about Jesus.

Loving Others Well

Read all other posts in the Love Where You Live series here.

Have you ordered my book yet?

Have you ordered my book yet?
Start reading!

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway