Something that stuck out to me as I was thinking about how we all impact people just by living is that we all impact people….just by living. It’s just that. We don’t need to do anything special or out of the ordinary or extravagant to impact people. It just happens!
That leaves me with two questions – why and how?
Why do we impact people and why are we so impacted by people?
How are we impacted by people and how do we impact others?
(Ok – I guess it’s 4 questions when you count that there’s two questions in each sentence).
But, really – why do we operate the way that we do? Why do people mean so much to us? Why do we mean so much to people?
When I stop to think about the question, what I’m really asking is, ‘why do I, as a person, value my friend, Amy, or my friend, Bre, or my friend, Becky SO much?’ Why is my heart moved when I know their hearts are sad or happy or filled with any emotion? Why am I filled with emotion of hurt or happiness when I know they are hurt or happy?
The answer is that God has given me just a smiggin’ of a slice of His heart for these girls. They’re my friends and sisters in Christ and I love ‘em to death, but I don’t even come close to loving them the way God loves them! I see Jesus in them and through them on a regular basis, and it’s a beautiful thing. Christ radiates through them, and it’s amazing to see. It’s beautiful! And, if I, as a sister in Christ, boast about Jesus’ beauty through them, how much more does Jesus Himself boast about their beauty through Him? And if I am this excited and thrilled by Jesus’ love for them, then how much more does HE become excited and thrilled about His love for them?
And, I just feel a smiggin’ of a slice! A smiggin!!!! A smiggin of God’s love has me going crazy in disbelief that someone (Jesus) could love us (everyone) that much! Impossible! I mean – we can’t love like that! Only God could give us that kind of love that makes a normal person impact someone extravagantly. It’s not that we ourselves are extravagant. It’s that the love of Jesus is extravagant! And, it’s really encouraging to me that Jesus loves these girls through me, because my love for other people is a sign to me that God is working in and through me. He’s answering my prayer to break my heart for what breaks His heart and to make my heart love what He loves and hate what He hates.
So I guess I just answered my questions…..
How are we impacted so deeply by people? We’re impacted by people when they love us with God’s love.
Why are we impacted so deeply by people? Because it’s not just an emotion or a feeling that we’re receiving. We’re receiving a divine identity. We are loved by God. We are a loved being. That is our identity. We’re loved. That is what defines us. Love.
“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love; they will know we are Christians by our love.”
How will people know us? Love. What connects every single Christian in the Universe to God? Love. And to each other? Love. What is the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned? Love. What does the Holy Spirit produce in Christians? Love.
Hm. There’s a theme here. Love.
Why is it such a big deal to impact people and to be deeply impacted? It’s because we want connection and we want to know and to be known – all of that is true. But, even deeper than that, it is because of how we impact and are impacted. We’re impacted and we impact through love. Why? Because it is our identity to know love and to be loved. That’s how we operate. We just do. That’s how God made us.
He made us to love and to be loved. Hm. I like that identity. I can dig that. That’s a great identity! What honest human being can truly say they would not like to spend their entire lives devoting themselves to being loved and loving? There is no greater life lived than one consumed utterly with love.
With that said, our application this time is to love. I’ll leave the application up to you and the definition of love up to God through what He says in 1 Corinthians 13:3-8a.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.