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Apr 15, 2018

Digging Deeper: What I Learned in Seminary

Digging Deeper: What I Learned in Seminary

Passage: Job 12:7-12

Speaker: Tianna Durbin

Category: Faith, Hope

Keywords: faith, hope, life

If you want to draw closer to God it starts in the dirt so get your hands a little dirty and dig deeper.

Devotional

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’  I’m challenging that.  I’m telling you to love your enemies.  Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.  When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.  This is what God does.  He gives his best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless:  the good and the bad, the nice and nasty.  If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?  Anybody can do that.  If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal?  Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up.  You’re kingdom subjects.  Now live like it.  Live out your God-created identity.  Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:43-48

Recently I’ve been picking up my son, Ethan, from school at the end of the day. My husband asked me, “Why am I going to get Ethan when he is perfectly capable of riding the bus and walking a couple blocks home?” It took a moment, but I realized that I’ve been going out of my way because I love him and can’t wait to see him! I also bring our miniature poodle, Georgia Peach, along for the ride. She is so excited when Ethan gets in the car and I love to see the big smile on his face when Georgia greets him. In that moment I’m full of love and joy for my teenager. 

Jesus calls us to love. It is easy to love our family and closest friends.

Ethan was born with multiple birth defects. We spent the first five years of Ethan’s life in and out of hospitals because he had to undergo many surgeries and procedures. This was a very dark time for me. Thankfully, we were surrounded by a church family that supported us. They brought us meals, went to the grocery store, sat with us in the hospital, cleaned our house and helped anyway that they could. Our church family became the hands and feet of Christ.

Jesus calls us to love. It takes a little more effort but loving our Christian community is a blessing to others as well as ourselves.

It is very good for us to love our family, our friends and our like-minded community. However, Jesus doesn’t only call us to love the lovable. We are also called to love the unlovable. Every one of us has the “unlovable” in our lives. Honestly, it is very difficult for me to love those who have hurt me. I have a lot of “work” to do to become more loving. This work helps us to forgive and love just as Jesus forgives and loves us. When we truly love others, we become our “God-created identity”. 

Jesus calls us to love. It will transform us from the inside out.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)  

Prayer:

Gracious Father, Thank You for the joy of loving and being loved.  Thank You for loving and forgiving us. Open our eyes us to those in our community that are hurting and in need. Help us to love those we consider unlovable. Please change our hearts so we become more like You.  Amen.

Written by Jennifer Roberts. Jennifer leads the children's choir and the beginning handbell choir. She lives in Ashburn with her husband Ben and their son Ethan.