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Loving Strangers - First15 - July 21, 2017

  • 2017 Jul 21
  • COMMENTS

Loving Strangers

Weekly Overview:

Loving others is one of the most important and difficult commands Jesus gave us. We are a messy, broken, needy, and sinful people. We constantly deal with our own wounds and those of others. Because there is no perfect person, the foundation for loving others must be based outside of the merit or worth of others. The foundation for love must come from the God who is love. As believers we must be constantly tapped into the love and grace of our heavenly Father so that we can love others selflessly and powerfully. May you receive the love of your Father and be empowered to love others this week as we look to grow in our obedience of Jesus’ command to love people.

Scripture:“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” >Hebrews 13:2

Devotional:

Matthew 25:34-40 gives insight into God’s passionate love for the lost, broken, and alienated. Scripture says,

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The world around you is living every day apart from the saving and freeing knowledge of God’s love for them. They try to find hope in the created rather than the Creator and discover that the world contains nothing to help them. Relationship with Jesus is the sole source of hope for the earth. And God longs to use us to love the strangers around us so that they might enter into relationship with our Lord who longs to sustain them, provide for them, help them, and offer them eternal hope.

I am not by nature an outgoing person. The concept of talking to complete strangers scares me to death. Apart from God, my natural propensity is to go from place to place without interacting with anyone. But that is not the life my heavenly Father is calling me to. We are not called to keep this free gift of salvation for ourselves, but to share it with all those God is beckoning to himself. God longs to fill each of us with the courage to love the unloved. He longs to fill us with passion to see the world around us awakened to the goodness of Jesus. Every time we set foot outside our homes, we are entering into a mission field filled with countless people who need what we have to give.

Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” You were created to receive the love of your Father and go out to share that love with a lost and dying world. God is calling you to a lifestyle of sacrifice, courage, adventure, and passionate pursuit of lost sheep who desperately need a Shepherd.

Allow God to strengthen you and fill you with courage to love strangers today as you enter into a time of guided prayer.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself. Allow God to fill you with a desire to reach the unreached today as you reflect on his word.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” >Galatians 5:14

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” >Matthew 25:34-40

2. What fear holds you back from loving others? What thought, perspective, or past experience does God need to address and speak truth and love to in order for you to effectively love others? Allow him to come and meet with you in the deepest places of your heart.

3. Ask God to fill you with courage to engage with others today. Ask him to fill you with his love for those around you whom you have never met. Find your source of security in his opinion alone.

Luke 10:2 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” May we be laborers who work diligently for our Lord today. May we love others with the depth of love we have been shown in Christ.

Extended Reading: Luke 15

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