Tag Archives: Meaning of Scripture

Loving the Unlovable

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The following blog was posted on Lift Up Your Day and is included in its entirety below. For more encouragement, check out the other posts on LUYD.


What did you do this past Valentine’s Day? Did it involve standing in line to buy fuzzy teddy bears, overpriced chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, mushy greeting cards, or Star Wars candy for your kids? Perhaps you had a nice dinner out or watched a Rom-Com at home.

However you celebrated Valentine’s Day, I bet it involved those you love. You certainly weren’t spending time and energy on those you don’t love.

 

The Unlovable

You know who they are. The woman who said hateful things about you behind your back. The guy who deceived you and broke your heart. We all know people like this. The ones who make life harder. The ones who hurt others to get ahead. The ones we can’t stand to be around. The ones we cannot, under any situation, love.

And yet that’s what God has called us to do: to love the unlovable.

 

An Impossible Command

Jesus said we should love our enemies and pray for those persecute us. (See Matthew 5:43-47.) I thought about this for years, wondering how I could possibly live this out in my own life. How can we muster the courage, strength, or whatever goodness is needed to love those who hate us?

I finally have the answer: We don’t. We can’t. We simply don’t have what it takes.

But God does.

 

A Godly Love

Before we knew God, we had to manage on our own. Our emotions—from love to hate—were based on passion, desire, and fear.

Then, we accepted Jesus as our Savior, and the Holy Spirit took up residence in our hearts. The Bible says that God is Love. This doesn’t just mean that He Loves us, but that His Love abides within us. (See 1 John 4:8 and 15.) If we will tap into the Holy Spirit in us, we can dispense God’s Love (with a capital L).

Remember, Jesus sacrificed Himself so all who believe in Him will have everlasting life (John 3:16). He saved each of us while we were still sinners. God’s Love is bigger than any sin we can commit, and there is no one God doesn’t want to save.

 

Exercises

There will always be people who wound us, aggravate us, or simply annoy us. But we aren’t limited to our own anemic emotions any more. Now, we can draw from God’s perfect Love that dwells within us.

The next time you happen upon your enemies, try these godly tactics:

  • Fake it ‘til you make it. Act like you sincerely care for their wellbeing. This isn’t about lying but about positioning yourself to draw from God’s wellspring of Love.
  • Don’t be ugly. Even when they’re not in the room, don’t say anything hateful about them. That would only negate the good work you’re trying to accomplish and open the door to hypocrisy.
  • Pray for them. You can’t hate someone you’re praying for, so pray and pray some more.

Whatever you do, ask for God’s guidance and wisdom. Treat each interaction with your enemies as opportunities to be His hands and feet in the world. By this, God’s love will be perfected in you. (See 1 John 4:12.)

If you practice this enough, you will eventually prove something quite profound: thanks to God’s grace, no one is unlovable.

We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1 John 4:19-21 NAS)

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The Name of Jesus

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Thank God the cross is empty. (Photo by Ashley Jones, 2016.)

 

I’ve always wondered about the name Jesus.

In Matthew and Luke, we read the angel of the Lord specifically told Mary and Joseph to name their son Jesus. Later, Paul tells the church in Philippi that Jesus is the name above every name (see Philippians 2:9).

Why is the name of Jesus so important? Certainly, He could have fulfilled His mission as John, Paul, Billy, or Bob. (Like Shakespeare said, a rose by any other name….)

It wasn’t until I studied Greek at the Bible college that I had my answer.

  

Mining for Meaning

The New Testament was recorded in Greek because that was the language of the land. However, Jesus was Jewish, so He would have been given a Jewish name, and He would have spoken Hebrew as well as Greek.

The name Jesus, as it is written in the New Testament, is from the Greek word Iesous (Strong’s 2424).* If you look this up, you’ll read that it’s simply a name, and that it’s not unique to Jesus Christ.

However, Iesous comes from the Hebrew word Yehowshuwa (Strong’s 3091), or as we know it, Joshua.* This is actually a combination of two words: Jehovah (Lord / God) and saved.

The name Jesus means “the Lord saves.”

 

Above Every Name

That’s why the angel told Joseph to name his son Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NAS).

And that’s why Paul said it’s the most important name (see Philippians 2:9). It summarizes the very message and mission of Jesus. It’s the gospel wrapped up in a single phrase.

And that phrase—the Lord saves—was given to Jesus as a name so it would be a sign for all who would understand: Jesus is Lord, and He saves.

 

Jesus Today

This Easter, let us remember that Jesus is the only one who can save us from our sins. This is why He was born, why He died, why He rose from the grave, and why He continues to speak to God the Father on our behalf (see Acts 5:30-31).

If you know Jesus as your Savior, then thank Him for who He is and all that He has done for you.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus yet, then I encourage you to do so now.** The good news is that He still saves.

 

* The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of Bible, by James Strong. This is a great tool to locate words in the Bible and to research their meaning, whether they were written in Greek or Hebrew.

**A simple prayer is all it takes. Here’s a suggestion: Jesus, I acknowledge that you are God and I have sinned against you. I ask for Your forgiveness. Come into my heart. I’m Yours.


For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 NAS)