Who is neighbor?

People who rise to success seem to have a similar trait in common. They didn’t give up. You’ve heard this time and time again, over and over. “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” The little engine that could and others . . . Our culture, as many others, are inundated with stories, myths, and fables of those who refused to give up.

Giving up is a result of discouragement, sometimes discouragement comes because we don’t believe that our objective is possible, sometimes it’s because we feel like a failure, and the more effort we put into a thing, the more like a failure we will feel. So in the end, it’s easier to just give up and stop putting in effort. But let me pause for a minute, and switch ideas- I promise I’ll come back.

In Luke 10, we find a fascinating and slightly ironic story of Jesus educating a lawyer on the law. The lawyer starts out with asking about the commandment to love God with all of your ability, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus answers his question that if he does only that, he will be saved. The lawyer then counters,

“Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus answers with the story of the good samaritain. If you’ve never read it, I invite you to read it now. (Luke 10:30-36) At the end of the story, Jesus asks, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

Did you notice the difference?

The Lawyer wanted to know who should I love according to the law. “Who is my neighbor?”

Christ answered and asked, “Who was the neighbor?”

The lawyer wanted to know what was required of him. What should I do? What is my duty?

Jesus answers by demonstrating, it’s not about what you’ve done, or what you do- but who you are?

The fascinating principle here, is that even though the law says “love your neighbor” according to Christ, we should understand that to mean, Be someones neighbor. Be a person who loves.

So let us return to our thought of the path to success. Life isn’t about how much you do, or what you can accomplish. It’s not about finding the absolute borderline of your “duty” and going no farther.

Life is about who you become at the end of it.

The secret to success isn’t about doing something and succeeding at it. It’s about being a person who perseveres until they achieve success. Once we have that in mind, failure does not come as often. If you redefine success in this way, it is hard to become discouraged. If you can look in the mirror and know who you are, that you are a person who is better than they were before, then you are a success.

We can’t control the results of our good work, but we can control our determination to continue good work.

Just like that lawyer learned, life isn’t about fulfilling a specific requirements but about becoming a person who fulfills them by nature. Success isn’t mustering up the courage to keep going as much as it being a person who simply lives a life of perseverance because that is who they are.

Advertisements

Do you wait for a mistake?

Have you ever watched someone, waiting for them to make a mistake? Maybe they showed you up at work. Or they always got an A on their tests. Maybe they seemed to be the perfect brother or sister. You hated the fact that they always did so well. you wanted to see them fail.

In Mark 3, the Pharisees did just that. Jesus entered the synagogue, and there was a man who needed healing. Immediately, the Pharisees were wondering if Jesus would work a miracle on the Sabbath.

They were looking to accuse Him.

They didn’t care about the man with the problem. They didn’t wonder or appreciate Jesus’ power and goodness. They cared about whether Jesus would heal on the Sabbath. And why? Honestly why?

Could I submit to you, that they pridefully wanted to have a grievance against Him. They wanted to be able to say He had a fault. They wanted to be better than Him.

Think about that.

They were filled with pride, they were blind to those around them. They didn’t care about Christ’s goodness or someone else’s condition. All they cared about was whether or not they were better than Christ.

Pride will do that to you. Pride will want you to accuse others. Pride will teach you indifference to the problems of others, and teach you to only observe you’re own assessed worth, how you measure up to others, and how they measure up to you.

Pride will teach you to accuse. To search for a fault in others, in your friends, and even in God.

I challenge you, make a commitment to banish pride from your life. Don’t allow foolish selfish pride to steal you from loving others, from loving those close to you, and loving God.

The Bible teaches us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren.

He doesn’t need any help.

God doesn’t need you

We often think of prideful people as having a high sense of self-worth. This is not the case. It’s not something that you see often, but only occasionally when you glimpse the form through the chinks in the armor, you see how insecure prideful people are. That bully is scared of being worthless. So he beats another kid to show how he is superior. That guy who throws his talent in everybody’s face, is doing it to make sure he get’s approval. Why? He’s not sure he’s worth something without it. It goes on.

Prideful people lack self-worth because true self-worth comes only from God. Think about it! By what standard can you judge yourself worth anything if not by God’s?

Who are you to say that you are worth something? And what makes the person next to you worthy enough to pass judgment? God’s esteem is the only standard.

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist calls out to the Pharisees and Sadducees. These religious leaders were proud because of their genealogy. John the Baptist said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Wow, is that an eye opener or what?

John the Baptist said quite simply: God doesn’t need you!

God’s not interested in who you dad was, or who your great great granddad was. He’s interested in who you are. No talents, special abilities, or even lineage can give you worth in the eyes of God. So what does God want?

The Bible tells us: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” 1 Peter 5:6

When you submit yourself to authority and submit yourself to God’s will and desires, God will exalt you in His timing. God wants someone who recognizes that they are nothing. When someone comes to God understanding that they are nothing, God will lift them up and show the world their infinite worth!