“The heart of Jesus”
I’ll never forget the day I learned about the heart of Jesus.
It was fall of 2010, I was recently married and sitting in TFC’s Spiritual Formation class with about half of my new family-the Walkers. Spiritually speaking, I loved Jesus and wanted to know everything about Him, and we were currently on the PowerPoint that revealed the nature of Jesus and His ministry. I was excited. I was on the edge of my seat. I was about to find out for the first time in plain words the best way to show Jesus you love Him. Then the slide came: Loving Jesus means SERVING OTHERS.
My heart sank.
I was so disappointed. Why? Because at the time I openly hated people. I wanted nothing to do with them. People are selfish, rude, loud, annoying, and complicated. Sure, I loved my family and the few friends I had managed to grab, but it took persevering through the fear of first impressions and acting like I had it all together to get to know them and hopefully have their approval. Even then I usually didn’t show anyone the real me. It was exhausting and I hated the process. I would rather have been a hermit forever.
I simply wanted to love Jesus with all my heart by working behind the scenes trying to earn my way to His love and acceptance. I was ready and willing to do anything for Jesus, but I never thought His heart would be focused on loving others. Why could it not be me and Jesus loving on each other forever? In a sense, I wanted to be His only child with all the love and attention on me. But that is not reality. This is reality: "If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20. Ouch. This was it was later explained to me is that I had a vertical relationship (just me and Jesus) and not a horizonal relationship where I loved others because He first loved me.
Looking back now I’m sure at least some of the disciples had a similar experience when Jesus rocked their world by adding a new commandment in John 13:34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
What does this verse require-that you love others the way YOU want to be loved? No, because how I interpret love would not be the same for others. In 2010, loving me (and in turn how I would have chosen to “love” others) meant not interacting with me or drawing unwanted attention to me. I was safe in my own Jesus bubble and didn’t want anyone to pop it.
Should we love others the way THEY want to be loved? No, because some don’t understand what it means to be genuinely loved or how to give and receive love. Take children and teenagers for example: they often equate love with getting to do whatever they want which will often lead to danger and unhealthy lifestyles to say the least.
Jesus in his infinite wisdom told us to love others like HE loves us.
That first requires knowing how Jesus loves us. He sacrificed everything for us. He died for us. He put others before himself every time because He knew that God would take care of Him if he was doing His father’s business.
If you, like me, find it hard to love others- take heart! You don’t have to love people from your own power. The Holy Spirit knows you- your strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, and interests. We are all made different to reach different people. I used to use my shyness as an excuse for not reaching more people.
Your personality is not an excuse- it’s a tool!
I love how Peter puts it in his first epistle: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10. The beautiful thing about being part of the body of Christ is that we all have unique talents and functions which when assembled together make a beautiful bride that brings honor and glory to God.
Also, the Holy Spirit already knows how you feel and what you struggle with so you might as well admit it to Him and ask for help.
My main ministry right now it to raise my two small children. Some days I have nothing left to give them and I confess to God, “Lord, I am tired. I have no love left for these children right now. Please help me show them your love. Empower me with your love. Let me see them the way that you see them.”
I used to believe that my “cup” needed to be filled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit constantly because only the overflow could be used to minister to others. Let me be clear: this is wrong.
The Holy Spirit is like a conduit, a pipe or tunnel through which water or electricity can pass. The Holy Spirit’s power isn’t drained from you when you give to others. But instead, He flows through you to everyone you encounter! Praise God! I don’t have to produce love to show God’s love. I don’t have to live off my own power, love, and strength. What a relief! I just have to submit myself to God and let Him love others through me.
The list of ways to serve Jesus is endless. I encourage you to find your giftings and dive into ministry with a joyful, sacrificial heart.
These song lyrics by All sons and daughters sum up the message beautifully:
Called me higher
I could just sit I could just sit and wait for all Your goodness Hope to feel Your presence And I could just stay I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You Hope to feel something again
And I could hold on I could hold on to who I am and never let You Change me from the inside And I could be safe, oh I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home Never let these walls down
But You have called me higher You have called me deeper And I'll go where You will lead me Lord You have called me higher You have called me deeper And I'll go where You lead me Lord