DAY 44 - Who is MY Neighbor?

Do I love my neighbor—those in my path.

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,”Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

INSIGHT:  When we love others like this, it is the greatest evidence that we love God.  The ability to love sacrificially can only come from the Holy Spirit, as we fully yield and surrender to Him.  He then fills us with the love of Christ to love others, but until then, the love of self gets completely in the way of our loving others.  It even sounds scary.

It was so hard for me to love others until I fully surrendered it all.  It was like trying to serve two  two masters.  However, I want to encourage you by letting you know that when you have fully surrendered to the Spirit of Christ, sacrificially loving others is much easier in your heart than you may now feel it is.  I was so reluctant to share what I’m about to share, because I do not want you to stumble by thinking I am exalting myself.  However, this email is the perfect illustration of this teaching and the fact that it came in literally as I am writing this page is sufficient enough evidence that it will do more good than harm to share.

A few days ago I received an email from an older man, who had divorced his wife of 30 years, and who even as a Christian felt dead inside.  As I typically do, I sent him a few replies and a voice recorded message/prayer.  It was not much at all.  The following is his reply.  Michael, I can't believe you have taken such an interest in me! Thank you for your thought provoking prayer. You are the most genuine person I have met in 35 plus years of following Christ. I would like to call you and talk to you and let you know how I got in this mess. I have taken God for granted and feel like one who has trampled the blood of Christ underfoot. I need someone to be accountable to.

I am telling you that I did not do much for this man at all!  It was not like a huge burden to love Him because I’m simply using the resources and strength that God has given me.  I’m helping those that have fallen into the hands of spiritual robbers, as he brings them across my path. Our neighbor is anyone who comes across our path in need of help that we can provide.

Today, many people have been robbed spiritually by Satan (Jn 10:10, 1Tim 6:5, 2Tim 2:26) and we have the opportunity to show them love by caring for their spiritual condition, encouraging them, and administering God’s grace according to the gifts we have uniquely received (1Peter 4:10).  It takes courage, but God promises to help you, with grace and resources, if you have the courage to serve those that He brings across your path.  What will somone testify about you, the next time you serve or love them in just a simple way?