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If You Love Jesus, You Must Love People by Esteban Valenzuela

God is all about people and relationship.

His institutions that include the church, marriage, and family…guess what? They’re all about people. Ministry, both inside and outside of the church…yup…also about people. Life guarantees that challenging situations and difficult people will often come our way. We won’t ever be able to fully insulate ourselves from these factors, unless you want to live in some remote place, like Alaska. If, however, you find yourself wanting to live life with some sense of normalcy, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’re probably going to be with and around people. 

As a parent, I have such a fierce love for my kids. I want the best for them and tend to worry about them here, in the now, but also about their health and safety in the future. In a sense, I see them as extensions of myself. Out there in life, exposed, there is great potential that I/they will experience life and feel pain. Sometimes it feels like a giant risk having kids. Risking my own sanity and my own emotions, as my very being is so tightly knit together in their existence. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s risky to trust people. 

It seems like a gamble to get out there and trust people with your heart and your friendship and to navigate this life and all the social and communal institutions that we potentially face. But it’s part of God’s plan. To be with Him. To be with others. To engage in relationship, fellowship, and community. When God asked Solomon what he would ask of Him, Solomon’s response was for wisdom and knowledge. This was in direct correlation with his relationship to his people, Israel, as their king. 

There won’t ever be a time or season when we are done with instruction in God’s Word. We learn some things, and then life throws new challenges, situations, and new people at us and we need to learn more. This is where God uses the church, pastors, and the Christian community to impact individual lives and whole communities so powerfully. A faithful expression of God’s church is going to have an emphasis on the most important training and equipping source…God’s Word. So, enter the community, get the big picture, and get into the game. Even if it seems risky. Understand that love, relationship, and community are a huge part of everyday life. Understand this is where the devil will often try to wage his war and bring division and a break in relationships. Let God’s Word train you, equip you, and dwell richly within you. Learn, affirm, and confirm to others the truth of His Word, and then encourage them to get in the game, too. Get to that place where the miracle of the Gospel is working something amazing in you, and help others to get there, too. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is radical! It’s all about Him! Somehow, He has engaged us in His mission…

Romans 12:14-21 say this: “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” 

In life and ministry Jesus Himself is the grand prize and the supreme goal. And He is all about people. 

Are we living in peace as much as it depends on us? It can be a challenging, messy, swampy relational world everywhere you go. If we claim to be His, this should lead us ask how we think about and act toward each of the precious people He has put into our lives and the various situations we face. Are we being faithful?  Like Solomon, we need wisdom. He’s got the blueprints for a life triumphant and victorious. So, be instructed. Allow Him to guide, direct, and equip you. He doesn’t simply desire us in heaven, but He desires for us to be fruitful and victorious here on earth! 

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