Do you feel like something just isn't right in your life? Do feelings of discontentment, unhappiness, frustration and guilt plague you? Do you feel like you fail at every turn in an endless circle of besetting sin?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I would ask you, how is your love life? How have you've been loving others - spouses, children, family members, friends, co-workers, church family, acquaintances or even complete strangers?
Could it be that your negative feelings are wrapped up in not loving well?
Think back to a time when you felt truly happy and content. What was going on in your life to make you feel that way?
You were probably actively loving well, cheerfully serving all you came in contact with. Putting others before yourself.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
I would imagine your life was free from strife with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, and your church family.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Now think back to a time when you felt unhappy and discontent. What was going on in your life to make you feel that way?
If you are like me, one of the things that can weigh heavy upon me is a relationship that is strained or broken; it feels like a dark cloud that follows me everywhere... Feelings of discontentment, unhappiness, frustration and even guilt become my constant companions.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember
that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift
there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Or do you ever think to yourself, "I can't even stand myself right now!" I certainly have. I get in such a mood and behave in a way that I know I shouldn't. I realize I'm acting selfishly, I feel miserable doing so, yet I continue in that manner anyway!
But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
1 Timothy 5:6
Although this verse is speaking about spiritual death and a heart hardened toward the things of God, it is sobering, none-the-less, to think that every one of our selfish acts contributes to a life dead in sin, a life that has denied the abundant life Jesus offers, a life of discontentment, frustration, unhappiness and guilt...
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.…
Oh what encouragement this verse offers! Are you weary and burdened by discontentment, frustration, unhappiness and guilt? Do you desperately want to feel content, happy and experience the freedom that is yours in Christ Jesus?
All you need to do is come to Jesus.
If you have never committed your life to Him. Let today be the day that you surrender your life of sin for a freed life hidden in Christ Jesus. Jesus' death on the cross satisfies the debt we owed to a just God for our own sins. He paid the ultimate price by sacrificing His life so that we would gain eternal life.
For those of you who are in Christ Jesus, return to Him this day. Cry out to the Lord to renew your mind in Christ Jesus to rule in your heart once again.
New Believers and restored believers will have a happy and content life by taking a lesson from Jesus's great life of Love. A life lived and died for others.
Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God
something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.…
I don't think we realize how much bondage we put ourselves into when we live only for ourselves. I'm sure we can all admit those times that although from outward appearances we did something selfless for somebody else, there was a hidden selfish motive driving the act.
How do we truly live a life free from the bondage of self, by sitting at the feet of the Master where we will find rest for our souls...
God's Word tells us that when we love others we have fulfilled the whole law.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
I saw this verse in a whole new light recently as I deeply reflected upon how many sins are wrapped up in not loving others well. In fact, I would say that every sin could be connected to selfishness and not loving others.
Why is it so hard for us to love others, yet so easy to love ourselves?
It all started in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the world because of the selfish choice of wanting to be like God rather than to obey Him.
But just as sin entered the world through one man Adam, forgiveness of sins entered the world through the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
We can break free from the bondage of self and all the negative feelings that follow by truly living an obedient life surrendered to Christ.
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Indeed, when God's Word speaks of wisdom, the attributes listed are all related to how to love well.
When we are faced with difficult relationships, we can ask God for wisdom on how to love that person, despite the strain.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
You might still be thinking, I understand all of this, but sometimes it is just hard to give more of myself when I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions, trying to satisfy the needs of everyone. I'm loving people, but still feel discontent, frustrated and unhappy.
That's where Matthew 11:28-29 gives us hope. Jesus teaches us how to love and find rest for our souls...
When you think of the many vignettes in the Bible of Jesus' interactions with people, we see first and foremost that He spent time with His Heavenly Father. Even when people were clamoring and things needed to be done. He took time away to commune with His Father.
Jesus always quoted Scripture for any given situation. God's Word was hidden in His heart.
You never saw Jesus stressed about anything. Even in the most dire situations, like learning of Lazarus sickness, He waited and did not rush. I'm not sure we see Him rushing at any time in the Bible. And why didn't He rush or feel stressed, because of His close relationship with His Heavenly Father and His Trust in God's will for all situations.
May the love of Christ rule in your hearts and may that love spill out toward others so that you can enjoy a life of contentment and happiness which will testify of God's great love toward you.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
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