This is my commandment,
that you love one another
as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life
for his friends.
You are my friends
if you do what I command you
When we want to know how we should practice Integrity, we can look to Jesus. A sinless life, obedience unto death, even death on a cross, a worldview built on God’s Word….Jesus is our great example (Phil 2:4-10). This is what He meant when He said that He fulfilled the Law: that He was showing how it was to be done (Matt 5:17). He was One with the Father (John 10:30), He applied God’s Word to His Life (Luke 4:15-22), He knew His purpose had eternal meaning (John 14:1-3). Jesus had a Praying Life.
A Praying Life is a life in dynamic communication with God, this means we talk with and listen to Him. It means our life events are intertwined with our relationship with Him. And it means that our lives demonstrate that He is at the center.
A Praying Life (amazon link) also happens to be the title of the current book for our ladies’ Bible study at my church. The class is team-taught and I had the honor to lead discussion this past week. This lesson was wonderful and I want to share an idea from the book that I will never forget, the idea of the Gospel Story:
The gospel, The Father’s gift of his Son to die in our place, is so breathtaking that since Jesus’ death, no one has been able to tell a better story. If you want a really good story , you have to tell a gospel story (p. 213).
The Father wants to draw us into the story of His Son. He doesn’t have a better story to tell, so he keeps retelling it in our lives. As we reenact the gospel we are drawn into a strange kind of fellowship (p. 214).
Whenever you love, you reenact Jesus’ death (p. 214).
…gospel stories always have suffering in them (p. 214).
If we are in relationship with Jesus, we are living Gospel stories. The gospel story is wrought with sacrifice and ends in redemption. And it is alive within us.
Laying down our lives is sacrificial. Laying down our selves is sacrificial. The Flesh rises up, wanting a place at the table, fighting to be a decision maker. But sacrifice leads to redemption.
- When we seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, this is a gospel story (Matt 6:33).
- When we persevere under trials (James 1:12), this is a gospel story.
- When we deny ourselves and honor the Lord (Rom 12:1-2), this is a gospel story.
- Loving God and loving others is a gospel story (Matt 22:37-40).
It is difficult to lay down our own will in order to love others, but God commands it. As Paul Miller says, when we love others, this is s gospel story it mirrors the life and death and resurrection of Jesus….suffering and sacrifice offer hope and redemption.
There are times when I simply cannot bend my stubborn will to love my neighbor. Some neighbors are tricky to love! In those moments, I cling to my love for God. He is deserving. He is excellent. He is reliable and trustworthy. He has done so much for me…when I think of it that way, I can love Him enough to love the others.
We must grow in love for others in order to be made more into the Image of Him. Next week, we will study the more excellent way of loving others, 1 Cor 13.
Please share in the comments, what is the gospel story that you are telling?