Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." John 13:1
After spending a weekend with all my family this verse took on deeper meaning than ever before. I know that family is the most sacred institution God ordained on this earth. I know it is dear to His heart. He created marriage to exemplify the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church. A family should be the top priority in every follower of Christ’s life next to our relationship with Him. It must be first and foremost in every member of your family’s life if you belong to Him. We obviously have failed miserably in living out His Word in our homes. We have failed to teach our children His standards for their lives. Most American families give much more time to sports than we do training our children in the Word of God within our homes. We have no time in our homes because we are seldom there. That our families sit down, and eat a meal together, and discuss our daily lives together is essential. A home cooked meal could solve a lot of problems within our homes nutritionally and spiritually. We have become like mice on a treadmill, not knowing how to get off. Make a radical decision to stop it all and focus on the Word of God, prayer time, and lets change society by getting our families lined up with the Word of God in our daily lives. It has all the answers within its pages as always.
Lets look to Jesus as we attempt to follow His example He lived out with with His disciples. He became my role model as a young mother and continues to be today. You cannot improve upon Jesus and you must read His Word to know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You cannot get it from reading other’s books. It must be the Book. It is ironic most of us have multiple Bibles in our homes, and it is least read if read at all. We have to wake up in our homes! Forget the world and focus on your family. That is how we will change the world we live in, one family at a time starting with yours and mine!
John begins in chapter 13 telling us Jesus knows His time has come to leave this world and return to the Father. Then we read these beautiful words,
" …having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."
Jesus’s love never turned inward, but outward. This is the night before Jesus was arrested, and the night before He was crucified. He knew He was going to be betrayed by Judas; He knew Peter would deny He knew Him. He knew they wouldn’t pray as He had asked, but sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew He was headed for crucifixion, to die for not only His own, but all who would follow and become His. He knew every sin we would commit in our lives. He wasn’t just man, but God. He knew He was totally pure, holy, and innocent. The righteous made a decision to die for all who were unrighteous, which includes all of us. He never allowed Himself to turn His love toward Himself. He was totally selfless thinking of others until the end. He cared for His mother during His final hours and ministered to the thief crucified beside Him. He then prayed for forgiveness for those crucifying Him, which includes us and our sin.
So how does this apply to us now? We must love Him more than ourselves first and foremost as He loved the Father. Then we will be enabled to allow His love to flow through us to others and we can change our families to honor and glorify our one true God to a lost and dying world. Jesus loved the Father more than Himself and proved it by obedience. Obedience is God’s love language: Jesus told His disciples in John 14:15:
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
We cannot keep what we do not know. Our children cannot obey what they haven’t been taught. Do we really believe a ball game is more important than our children’s eternal salvation? Please honestly answer that question not with empty words, but with action. How much time do you give to sharing the Word of God as a family in comparison to sports? I have watched it consume families’ lives my entire life! I love playing probably more than most, and have always lived a very active life, but it was with my children. I ran, so they ran. They ran races with me. My children played some organized sports, but we never let it dictate our lives. However, they played a lot of ball in our yard. Most the neighborhood kids were at our home, because I was home, and they all needed looking after. No umpires, no uniforms, no activity buses, we just played ball for the fun of it. Imagine that! Volley ball, soft ball, basketball, baseball, and a lot of other fun activities. Children need a home environment and stability more than all the busyness. Who is it really for? The children or the parents? Do we really believe being a good athlete and academics are going to prepare our children for the greatest endeavor in life on this earth, which is to love the God who created them for a purpose; and to eventually create a family in their own lives.
At the end of our lives and our children’s lives, what do you think will really matter? That is what we need to be living for. In my humble opinion according to God’s Word, it will be knowing I am about to go home where He created for me an eternal home and to take my family with me. I want to know before my God I have loved my family to the end as He did. I want to follow Him home.
What was the key to Jesus success? My summarization is He loved God more than Himself. He died to Himself and His will for the will of the Father. We must do the same to prove our love for Him by obedience. Our families betray us as He was betrayed. They can humiliate us before the world. Those we give our lives to reject and do not esteem us just as Christ was treated. They can deny they ever knew us by their actions. I know. But I also know how God the Father has loved me as I have done all of the above to Him. I know His mercy and forgiveness. I know His cleansing, healing, sacrificial love that has redeemed me and saved me, and continues to daily. I know His love, and I know My Father. Therefore I know I must give out what I have received beginning with my family. His love never fails. As we make that choice His love will enable us to look beyond ourselves, and will make us realize it isn’t about us. Its all about Him and His will for our lives. I will be the first to attest I am not capable of self denial apart from Him. I must stay connected to the vine for His love to flow through me. That is true for all of us. But I also can attest to His faithfulness to make us what we are not. This is how we gain our lives, and it is how we gain what He intended our families to become. So many of our deepest needs were meant to be met within our families, but we are looking outside the home. This is to our detriment. God’s love is enduring. It doesn’t quit when times get hard. It is when we go deeper in our time with Him to learn to grow and mature into a true bond servant of Christ. God deliver us from running away when difficulties come. Instead of turning inward, let’s turn to Jesus for the grace to look outward in love and service to Him and those entrusted to our care, beginning in our own homes that we might love each other to the end.
Let us conclude with these final words from the Word of God:
And He was saying to them all,
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."
In His love.
Blessed by running trails at Doughton Park this week including Primitive Bluff Ridge. This is the shelter and the views you behold. The shot of the strong, mature tree with its roots wrapped around a huge boulder reminded me to have my roots wrapped around the Rock, Jesus, and I too can overcome the elements of live and reach strength and maturity absorbing it’s glorious message.