Monday Motivation: Who do we Love?

There are two choices we are given as to what we can love, the world or God. We can’t love both.

John 2:15- 17 says “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

You cannot love both the world and the Father at the same time. We must choose. As believers, the best part is that we do not have to choose to love the Father on our own strength. In Christ, we can do all things. All impossible things become possible with Him.

Our flesh is sinful. It desires the things of the world. The world coaxes us into wanting the fleeting things it can offer. Money, popularity, and fame. The things of the world come with a great price. Death. They are not of the Father. The Father offers us security through his provisions, through his love, and through a relationship with Him. The Father offers us life. The world cannot offer life as the Father can.

How do we love the Father? We love our heavenly Father by loving His son. Loving His word. Loving those who He loves. Seek first His kingdom. 

ACTION STEPS with your kids: Read 1 John 2:15-17 with your kids. Talk about what desires of the flesh are. Help them to see some consequences of giving in to the earthly desires that we may have. Pray together, asking the Lord to give you a desire for the things that please Him. Pray boldly with and for your kids to seek first His kingdom and His glory. 

Monday Motivation: Love Your Enemies

Luke 6: 27-36 “But I say to you who hear,  Love your enemiesdo good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

While the word “enemy” may seem severe, and you may not think you have any, perhaps an “enemy” in your life is someone whom you struggle to think kindly about.

The Lord gives us a few commands that are light in the darkness.

Christ commands us to love our enemies. It goes without saying that we love those who love us.  Christ knew that wouldn’t be where our flesh would be challenged.  As verse 32 and 33 say, even sinners love those who love them, do good to those who do good to them, and lend to those who will pay them back.

It is hard, grueling work to do good to those whom we see as our enemies, but what a beautiful picture to show love by doing good to those who don’t deserve your love. Jesus was the perfect picture of doing good to others when He died on the cross for the very ones who crucified Him. And even more than expecting nothing in return, He gave his righteousness to all those who call upon His name. 

The command to bless and pray is challenging. Especially as it follows the command to love our enemies and do good to those who hate you.

Have you ever prayed diligently for someone who fits into any of these categories in your life? It is hard to not start caring about them. You may have heard the saying that you can’t hate someone you pray for. And not a prayer in passing, but actually getting on your knees and seeking the Lord on their behalf. 

If we are loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us, won’t people notice us? Won’t they ask themselves, and maybe you, “why?” Going against the norm shouts God’s glory. We should want others to look at us and ask, “why?” Why did we love our enemies? Why did we do good by those who hate? Why did we bless when we were abused? Why did we give without asking anything in return? 

Why? Because of Christ. Because He loves them too. God is great. Let’s show his greatness to the world by how well we love.

ACTION STEPS with your kids: Read Luke 6:27-36 with your kids. Ask them if the Lord brings anyone to mind when reading this passage. Pray for those they named, asking the Lord to change their hearts towards them. After you’ve prayed together, brainstorm ways they could show God’s love to them. 

Monday Motivation (on Tuesday): God our Helper

Hebrews 13:6, “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

What can man do to me? Your quick answer is probably that man can do a lot. Other people do have a lot of power over us. Our boss can fire us. Police can put us in jail. Our friends can spread lies. Strangers can be rude. 

But God. God is our helper. This is a hard lesson to learn again and again in life. People will hurt us. God does allow trials in our lives so that we run to Him, our strong tower, to sustain us. He desires for us to be more refined and made more holy. Refining takes place under heat and pressure.  

But God. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 He is our safe place when we feel we are under that heat. He is our protection under that pressure. He is always present and helps us.

It’s hard to not fear what man can do. But God! Lean into the wisdom He freely gives in His word. Lean in to your prayer time worshipping who He is. Knowing who HE is, reminds us that man’s power over us is limited.

ACTION STEPS with your kids: Read these passages and talk with your kids about situations where they’ve needed help that no person could give them. Seek opportunities through your day to encourage your kids to pray. Ask the Lord to humble their spirits to His leading in their life. Ask the Lord to be their helper.