Worthy Ambition

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a disciple as you will. Simply stated, the goal of a disciple is to learn from one’s rabbi, to emulate him. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that we are to be imitators of Christ. That’s not all that complex of a concept to understand, yet we seem to complicate Christianity with all our theories, our various theologies, and ideas about what it means to be a Christian. Frankly, it all wears me out and makes me wonder who the heck is right about all of this. This why I always come back to the K.I.S.S. principle: “Keep It Simple Stupid!” What are the things that seem to matter most to God? When push comes to shove, it appears to me that it always comes back to love. Loving God and loving others, is a very uncomplicated thing to understand, yet a very difficult thing to do.

What does it mean to love people? It means we love the people we actually know and do life with. It always amazes me when some tele-evangelist looks into the TV camera and says, “Just remember now, God loves you and so do we.” Well, they have it half right! How do you love people you don’t know? How do you love people you have never experienced? The answer is easy. You don’t.

If we are to truly live out the Christian principle of “Love your neighbor as yourself,” then we have to concentrate on the people we know; the ones we do experience. When I say “experience,” I am implying that these are the people who are a challenge to love. The “people” part is the very thing that makes them difficult to love. People make the whole idea of loving a lot more challenging. It’s people who try your patience; it’s people who gossip about you or slander you. It’s people who disappoint you. It’s people who hurt you, and it’s people who are unloving towards you. It’s not difficult to love people who love us. We don’t get credit for that. Check out what Jesus says in Luke 6 on that one. I don’t even need God to love people who love me. I automatically want to give people like that a chance. They are men and women created in God’s image! Oops! So are the difficult and less lovable people.

I need to focus on loving the unlovable today. I need to forgive those who don’t love or forgive me. I need to make it my ambition to do and be as Jesus was in these areas. The Apostle Peter encourages us in this way: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins “ (1 Peter 4:8).