2022 Discipleship Series: Love Changes Everything
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest, he replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38) This is the call of every disciple of Christ. But discipleship doesn’t begin there. These two commandments can not possibly be kept unless we understand the most critical truth of the Gospel: We are only able to love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Believe it or not, I had been a Christian many years before I could really accept that God loved me. I could understand that God loved the world (John 3:16). I could understand that God loved you, but I felt so unlovable that I just couldn’t believe that He loved me. I wanted him to, and no one could have tried harder to earn God’s love than me!
But God, in his grace and mercy, loved me so much that He would not let me continue in that futility. I am so thankful that He revealed His love to me in very personal ways. He had to break through the brokenness and soften the hardness before I could truly grasp the greatness of His love for me, but He did not give up until I understood and received the love that changes everything. It is only a heart filled with the love of God that can truly make a difference in this needy world.
It was this love that brought Mary to Jesus’ feet in worship. Unloved by the world, Mary was transformed by Jesus’ love. (John 12:3 ) This transforming love is where discipleship begins. We cannot truly love anyone else unless we first know, understand, and receive the love of God for ourselves. This is why I make the following prayer the starting point of any discipling relationship:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:20)
As we understand that it is only the love of God that can transform a life, then we know that there is nothing we can do to convince someone else that God loves them. Only He can do that, but He invites us to join Him by loving them, praying for them, and bearing witness to them about how His love has changed us.
If we try to disciple another simply by teaching them what to do to be a Christian, we run the risk of teaching religion instead of leading them into a love relationship with the Love that changes all.
Lord, You know our hearts. You know our need. You love us so much more than we can truly grasp. Thank You! Lord, as we meditate on this word, let love flow freely in us and through us. Help us to understand that there is nothing we can do to earn Your love, and there is nothing we can do without Your love at work within us. Holy Spirit, let this abiding love penetrate every obstacle in our hearts until we are fully convinced that You love us. May we be so filled with the love of Christ that we cannot help pouring it out everywhere we go.
Living Boldly for Christ,
Registration is now open! We hope you and your friends will join us at The Flourish Conference!