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Inward & Outward

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5 (ESV)

Jesus has taught that the whole of the law can be summed up in the phrase, “Love God and Love People”. This truth is continually found in the teaching of Jesus throughout the gospels and this verse is another representation of that teaching. How do we go about loving others well? We must first love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving God means that we are seeking to please him by fighting (through his strength) the sin that still clings to our hearts. It means that we are well aware of our own personal weaknesses and failings. In our state of humility and personal awareness, we are then able to share the love, grace, mercy, and goodness of God with others who need to hear and be reminded of the good news of the gospel. It is only in this state of humility that we will then bring the hope of Christ to our brothers and sisters who are hurting and in need.

I am continually reminded through this meditative reading of the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus is most interested in two things. First, he speaks to my inward heart. He is concerned that I gain a proper understanding of the state of my heart. There is a continuing theme of personal holiness through the richness of God’s mercy in my life. This is the starting point and the foundation for moving forward. There must be humility leading me to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each and every heartbeat should be drawing me closer to Jesus. Growing within me a desire to seek Jesus first and foremost.

Second, Jesus speaks to the outflow of my heart. When my inward heart is filled with the indwelling of the Spirit, then the outflow of my heart will be a picture of God’s character. As I am content in my humble position and trust completely in the goodness of the Father, I will then be ready and able to share the love of Christ with others. My brother may need help removing the speck from his own eye. My brother may not even be aware of the speck that is in his own eye. What he needs is the grace and mercy of Christ to engage his heart. My brother needs me to come with humility and understanding.

After all, this is what Jesus did for me (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus humbled himself to leave heaven and be made in human likeness. Jesus walked among us and fully understands my pains, my hurts, and my temptations to sin. This is how I am to engage with my neighbors. Jesus wants me to be so engaged and in love with Him, that I can go to my neighbors with nothing to prove. I am approved by God and loved by the Father. I am now free to share this love and freedom with others.

This freedom allows me to engage with Christ on an even deeper level. As I engage with my neighbors and see their hearts rooted in sin, I will pray and cry out to the Lord for their salvation and freedom. As I engage with my neighbors and see the blessing of God being poured into their lives, I will rejoice and give praise along with them to the One who blesses them. Each and every opportunity that the Lord presents to me is a pathway to draw my heart deeper into the love of Christ. There is freedom in Christ to love Christ. There is freedom in Christ to love others. I want to see my heart swell with the love of God for me and for others. I want to see my heart continue to change and be shaped each and every day to be more like Jesus. Loving God and Loving People…

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