Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
– 1 Peter 4:1-5 NASB (emphasis added)
The part of the passage I put in bold above answers the question, “How do I love God and love people?” This is an important question to ask because it’s so clear that love is what Jesus wants to see from us – especially in the light of the love that He has shown toward us. Therefore, if we want to love Him and love people, we stop doing what we want and instead do what He wants. What He wants is to meet people’s needs, though not necessarily their wants.
There are currently over 7 billion people on this planet. You are not responsible for reaching out and touching all of them. Focus on those nearest to you – those for whom you are most responsible.
My father married a woman, had children with her, and together they supported us every step of the way. Contrast him with a man who does lots of social justice work to help the disadvantaged, tweets his outrage at all the appropriate villains, but divorced his wife after twenty years to marry someone younger. In today’s media culture, it is this other man – not my father – who will be considered the better person. This is because society today considers mutual consent the only binding sexual ethic. Jesus thinks family is much more important than that.
Men, you don’t have to be Saint Francis of Assisi to please Jesus. Just love your wife, train your children, and do a good job for your employer. Society may not have an award for someone like you, but Jesus will have one for you when you get to heaven.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help me make sure I’m getting the basic things right…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.