The measure of a man is his capacity to love. Not sermons preached, books written, or goals met. It’s about receiving the love of Christ so as to transmit it to the people around us–this is how God will measure the success of our lives. This can be a bit scary…until we remind ourselves that God never condemns us!
David’s secret: This I know, that God is for me! Do you know this? Psalm 139 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts.” We can only make this request of God when we trust God’s loving heart toward us. Can you do that?
We’re all on a journey, with me farther down the road than most of you, and I envision you asking me a question, “Jerry, where is God taking us?”
The Holy Spirit said to me recently, “The measure of a man is his capacity to love.” I’ve been married 51 years, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. We’ve dedicated our lives to helping people get restored through knowing God. We have made disciples and planted churches. But God’s word was a bit shocking.
If I understand correctly, I think He is saying, “Jerry, when you stand before Me, I will be looking for one thing: to what degree have you loved people? I won’t be asking you about degrees, books published, sermons preached, or success in business. I’ll be looking at how you have been learning from My loving you and translating that into loving others. That’s how I measure people.”
To be honest, I have never tried to just view my life through this lens. It would be pretty scary if I weren’t secure in Father loving me. Fortunately, God never condemns me (Rom.8:1). David’s secret is my secret (Ps.56:9b). David sees God as his Father who wants to reach into his soul and take out the things that are hurting him. (Ps.139:23-24).
God sent Jesus not to judge us or make us feel guilty. He wants to set us free from the parts of our lives that aren’t the way we are designed. It’s like when you have a splinter in your finger, and you hold still while someone pulls it out. Not fun, but you are grateful.
If you can see God trying to give you more relief, more help, more freedom, then you will have a fantastic journey. I’m going to ask you to make a decision to view your life this way. I can’t make it for you.
A lawyer asked the right question: “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Mt.22:37). The second: “You shall love your neighbor” as much as you love yourself (Mt.22:39). “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Mt.22:39).
What this means: all God’s commands describe the highway of Love. Not surprising since God is love (1Jn.4:8,16). He created us to be in His likeness. See the Highway of Love image.
Next, let’s talk about your next steps into freedom. How familiar are you with that incredible sense of relief that comes when you have wrestled and wrestled with unforgiveness trying to drag you into bitterness? You have gone to the cross, you have repented over and over, and finally you experience the release and you no longer are carrying this resentment/anger.
Every act or attitude outside God’s Highway puts you under some power of the devil (Eph.4:26-27). Recognizing your sin pattern and feeling its connection with the loss of joy and peace is where freedom begins. No one can steal your joy and peace. People can provoke you and make you angry over the injustice, but you have to step outside of love to put yourself in bondage.
Someone has borrowed your car, damaged it, and did not offer to pay for it. Someone borrowed money and skipped out. Someone lied about you, and you weren’t promoted.
A missionary friend kept another missionary family for several weeks when they came, but when my friend’s assistant needed a room for two weeks, they charged. My friend was not happy.
Your friend betrayed you and accused you of things not true. Your brother cheated you of your inheritance. When these things happen, we get totally focused on what Jesus calls “specks.” What we don’t see, He calls “logs” in our eyes! (Mt.7)
My children had a record of a circus monkey that drove me crazy. “I’m free. I’m free!” But he stuck his hand back through the bars to grab a banana and would not turn loose. He was still there when the keeper returned the next morning. This is a parable of a freed Christian who is in bondage!
Relationship problems are love problems, and Jesus addressed that in Mt.5. When we are outside the Highway of Love, we are exhibiting a character problem.
We have a business team on an island off the coast of India. We sent one couple to open a new site. They needed one more couple from the team, but no one wants to move there to live with them because the wife is so negative. Their interpretation: the team has a vendetta agains them. My point: They lack self-awareness and humility. The mission field is full of Moneys with their hands stuck in cages.
What’s the solution? Receiving Father’s love!
We are able to love others to the extent that we are receiving God’s love (1Jn.4:19). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn.14:15). It takes Father loving you in order for you to choose to trust Him and obey Him. These are hard choices; the more of His love we receive, the more we learn to recognize when we are in the wrong lane.
I told this story yesterday: Two sons, one 8, one 9…. I’ve named them: Enjoy More and Try Harder. Which one is your story? You are on a journey of learning to love. Freedom is a choice. Receiving from your Father at the beginning of every day is what it takes.