Good Morning CLMNWA Family,
Wherever true Christianity has gone, His followers have performed acts of kindness, love, and gentleness.” – Billy Graham
I have one of those perpetual calendars, and yesterday posted this quote by Billy Graham via the Christlike Ministries NWA Facebook Page. And rather than make it into a written sermon, I kind of let the quote preach itself as the Holy Spirit had me ask a simple question. “What do you leave behind where you’ve been?”. Naturally I didn’t get much interaction from it, but that’s normal. I have a very low participation rate when it comes to anything I write or post, but some times I guess a question like that is best talked about between yourselves and the Holy Ghost.
However, today there’s a Scripture that follows and goes along with Billy Graham’s quote from yesterday, and that’s how we get to the point where I’m sitting down to actually write a message because the verse and the quote confirm each other…and I sense that the Lord has something He would like to speak to us about. So, I’m going to add the verse, and then we’ll see what the Lord has to say to us today, Amen!?!
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” – 1 John 4:11 (KJV)
At the unction of the Holy Ghost, Billy Graham says that wherever true Christianity goes it leaves behind acts of kindness, love, and gentleness, and Jesus’ beloved disciple while he was on the Island of Patmos also by unction of the Holy Ghost writes that we are to love one another the same way that we love God. Let me put that another way…the way we treat one another is a direct reflection of the way we treat God. Which leads me to the title of this message: How Do You Treat God?
Perhaps I should just speak for myself, but I’m going to go out on a limb to suggest that if we realized that the way we treat one another reflects how we treat God I bet we would pay a little bit better attention to exactly how we are treating people. I realize that the Bible doesn’t directly say here that the way we treat one another is a direct reflection on how we treat God, but there are certainly implications throughout Scripture that suggest that how we treat people reveals how we treat God.
Look. We all know that we’re to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, but just as Jesus was always trying to get us to do deeper why shouldn’t we? I can’t help but to keep coming back to the story of Mary and Martha because any time we talk about intimacy with God the picture that immediately comes to my mind is Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha is frantically running around. The truth is, in real life, some of us are Mary’s, but most of us are more like Martha. Now, I’m not saying that some of us really love Jesus, and some of us don’t. What I’m saying is that most of us love Jesus with our lips, but our hearts…not so much.
The more I spend time, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus the more time I want to spend there, and the less time I want to spend doing other things. The interesting thing is, as I’ve said many times, is that once I’ve spent time at the feet of Jesus it gives me the right heart and attitude I need to be able to serve others whether it’s writing a message or being a better husband, father, or son. I can always tell when I’m not spending enough time at the Lord’s feet by how I’m treating others around me, and that’s why I’m saying that how we treat others is a direct reflection of how we treat God.
I just told you that I can tell when I’m not spending enough time at the Lord’s feet by how I’m treating others around me. When I’m spending time at the Lord’s feet my heart is softer, and when I don’t spend enough time at His feet…my heart becomes a little harder. It’s easier to love others, it’s easier to have a right heart and right attitude when I’m sitting at the feet of Jesus than when I am not. Is anyone getting anything out of this? I feel like many of you are starting to get the idea of what I’m talking about, but some of you are having a hard time making the connection yet.
Look back at Mary and Martha. Mary was peaceful. Martha was a frantic mess, and we all know that eventually she got mad enough to even yell at Jesus. Martha wasn’t taking that quality time to sit at Jesus’ feet, and she wound up allowing bitterness, probably a little jealousy, and a few other emotions to get into her heart…and there came a boiling point to where she couldn’t take it any more and she yelled at Jesus to yell at Mary. Course, we all know Jesus said that Mary found the one needful thing, and that was the end of the story.
But…there’s so much more that we can get from that story…especially in the context of what we’re talking about today. Martha wound up with such a wrong attitude that she yelled at Jesus. Am I the only one that sees that when I read this story? She yelled at her Creator. The King of kings and Lord of lords. She yelled at God. Any of you ever get mad enough to yell at God? Would it shock y’all to know that I’ve gotten mad enough at God to yell at Him too? The thing of it is, I’ve come to learn that the way I treat others is the way I treat God…and that’s helped to change the way I treat people nowadays.
Remember Jesus was talking about the difference between the sheep and the goats? Remember His words to them? He said “If you have done so unto the least of these you have also done so to Me”. Again, when Paul had his Damascus road experience. Paul thought he was simply persecuting Christians, but Jesus asked him “Why do you persecute ME?” Again, Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. He said that every house that welcomes in the disciples also welcomes the ONE THAT SENT THEM, and every house that rejects them also rejects the One that sent them. This suggests to me that there is real truth to the fact that how we treat others is a reflection of how we treat God…and I don’t know about you…but that really makes me think about how I am treating others.
So…I’ve said all of that to encourage you in this…be mindful of the path you are leaving behind and the heart and attitude that you have towards others. If you find, like me at times, that you’re not being very loving or gentle or kind…it may well be that you have become more like Martha, and you need to make time to sit at the feet of Jesus more. If you find that you’re leaving gentleness, kindness, and love then make sure that you remain at the Lord’s feet. Now after having said all of this it finally gives these two questions the ability to preach themselves, and for us to ask the Holy Ghost to reveal to us what is really going on in our hearts so that we can not only treat one another better…but so we can have the right heart and attitude towards God as well, Amen!?!
And I’ll close this message with two simple questions asking the Holy Ghost to give us all ears to hear and hearts that will be receptive and respond to what He’s spoken already, and that we’ll be sensitive to His voice as He speaks to us about the reality of where our hearts are at…and how exactly it is that we are treating Him and others.
- What are you leaving behind wherever you go?
- How do you treat God?
Have a blessed day in the Lord!
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B