One Word, Best Gift

As I was having some worship time this morning, I was thinking, ‘What is the one word I would use to describe Jesus?’ I thought of all the words assigned to him: Master, Savior, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Mighty God, Emmanuel, Christ, Lord, Son of God, Son of man, the Word, Lamb of God, New Adam, Light of the World, King of Kings, King of the Jews, Rabbi, Chosen One, I Am, Bread of Life, Creator, Only Begotten Son, Alpha and Omega, Almighty, High Priest, Prophet, Teacher, Advocate, Mediator, Judge, Chief Cornerstone, Shepherd, Living Water, True Vine, Branch, Bridegroom, Dayspring, Carpenter, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Way, the Truth and the Life, The Image of God, and the list goes on. I’m sure I’ve left something out so don’t mark me off on this. As you read through those, can you see how much is used to describe him? It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Just think then how can we define Jesus with one word?


I sat there on the floor of my sewing room, pondering, because I decided I needed worship time more than I needed to do whatever it was I had been doing. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of having an intimate relationship with Jesus and what that has meant to me in my life. I thought, ‘What would that one word be to describe Jesus?’ The words came flooding out; precious, loving, dear, merciful, cherished, best friend, loyal, and the list went on and on. I couldn’t put one word on such an intimate and beautiful relationship that I’ve had with him. He is so loving and so caring. He is there for me any time I need him. He is Always by our side. The only reason we may think he is not, would be because the world gives us distractions, but he is there. We just need to seek him and recognize that he meant it when he said he would Never leave our side. I felt his presence as I thought of this, and I talked to him. I asked, “How do I tell someone else all that you mean to me? How do I describe you in one word? It’s simply impossible!” But think about it, could you describe your favorite family member or best friend in one word? Maybe there is one word that stands out for them, but I don’t know of one word that stands out for Jesus other than love and best gift.

Jesus is the best gift that I could share with anyone else, with you, because if you take the time to get to know him, he will change your life. Your life will become more peaceful and more relaxed. He will center you and I’m not saying that in a new age way. If you put him at the center of your life, the rest will fall into place. It’s not that you won’t have trials, we live in a fallen world, but when you do have trials, take them to Jesus and he will help you with them. But more than that, he gives us a new life when we believe on him. He gives us grace. I asked one of my daughter’s for her one word for Jesus and she said grace. Funny that she said this as she was shearing her son’s hair because he had just cut it with the scissors so low that she simply had to shear it. She did not punish him, because by his life choices, he had punished himself. He was hiding in his room because he didn’t like what he had done. She gave him grace. How often do we hide out because we are ashamed of what we have done? Yet Jesus has seen all the mistakes, all the sins, all the things we think are irreparable and he fixes us. He fixes our problems, our too short hair, he shears away the mess, and he loves us through it all. We were created for relationship with him. He brings us back to him through his death and resurrection. Jesus died for all our sins and mistakes, so that we might have a new life in him. He died to give us life more abundantly.

That is one of the best words I can tell you about Jesus, is that he gives Life and he gives life more abundantly. Not only does our life on earth become better, but we gain eternal life by believing. Our sinful nature is replaced by a new nature. Our old heart becomes fresh and new. I have seen this happen where people who didn’t care about life, others, or themselves even were brought back to being happy people by trusting in Jesus. He is our (more words to describe him) transfiguration or transformer!  To transfigure means to transform into something more beautiful or elegant! I love that word, because that is what Jesus does to us when we allow him to. Will you allow Jesus to transform you today? I pray you have or do.

You can pray this with me: “Jesus, I come to you and ask you to forgive me of all my sins, I want to follow you. I believe you died for me and I give my life to you. Please accept me back into your fold. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

If you asked Jesus into your life for the first time or if you have had a long absence from God, then I suggest you find a good ministry to follow in your area. May you find the one word which is the best gift in your life. To me that word is Jesus.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. – John 10:9-11 NKJV

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” – John 14:6-7 NLT

So, from now on, we refuse to evaluate people merely by their outward appearances. For that’s how we once viewed the Anointed One, but no longer do we see him with limited human insight. Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 TPT

The Light of Godliness

How much do we truly identify with our new nature as Christians vs the natural conditions we face on this Earth? Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations. There’s no getting around them, but do we identify with them more than we identify with who we are in Christ? Do we allow them to be our excuse or our cop-out for bad behavior when we should use restraint or allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into better behavior?

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 5:47-48 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Downstream

Jesus is our best example of how to treat others, think of him when he was being beaten and scourged, he didn’t lash out. Not that we should take illness as our lot, we shouldn’t, because he paid the price for us, but while we are enduring, we should remain humble. He is our refuge and healer.

I know Christians who face serious illnesses with Grace and mercy. If you were to meet them for the first time, you would never know how ill they are. I’ve even known friends who were dying of cancer and never uttered a word to others about their condition, except when they were in horrific pain. Otherwise, they kept a cheerful attitude facing the world with dignity and never complained. Then I’ve known others who cry over the smallest paper cut as if they needed great attention and care, leading others to think they were the ones dying with their dramatization. And some who scream or are short fused with their family when they feel the slightest twinges of problems, or scream at them when they did nothing wrong. Who in these instances are allowing the light of godliness to shine through?

2 Peter 1:5-9 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’m not saying we should hide our feelings, but we shouldn’t use our conditions for ill behavior. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or driving home in traffic, do you take it out on your family when you get home? That isn’t godliness. It’s allowing your circumstances to control your outlook and ruin other people’s days, when they weren’t the cause of your situation. If you feel ill, should you snap at those around you? Should you bark orders and expect others to wait on you hand and foot? No, and they shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. They may feel sorry for your condition, but it isn’t their fault that you have the medical or emotional condition you have. I’ve known families that cater to one person with an illness because they play a guilt trip on others for their lot in life, making everyone in the family wait on them hand and foot. By the same token, I’ve known family members who ignore family members who seem to have one illness or problem after another. Neither attitude is right. There should be a balance; a give and take. The one who seems to keep having medical issues certainly never asked for them and needs understanding and compassion. They need acknowledgement from their family, not a ‘sweep it under the rug’ as if it doesn’t exist. Certainly, we have a hope that any illness or calamity will be healed by the blood of Jesus, but in the meantime, show them you care without making their condition a reason for them to act out. Obviously, some conditions may limit them from physical abilities they’ve had before, but it shouldn’t limit the one suffering the ability to show kindness, mercy, and grace. In fact, if anything, it should do the opposite and make them more compassionate and tenderhearted towards others. Sadly, that isn’t always the case and many lash out in anger.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

When I see this in Christian brothers and sisters I want to say, “Get over yourself! Who is your source?! What are you drawing on? What makes you entitled to special favors and treating others poorly?!” I’m not saying I’ve never been grouchy when I feel ill, I have and normally I catch it and apologize quickly to anyone I’ve said any harsh words to, but I don’t live there. I’m talking about people who live in that state and wear it like a badge. You are not defined by whatever “fill in the blank” condition you have, you are defined by God and who he created you to be! You are his righteousness and his holy ones, act like it and treat others how you want to be treated. You are not this disease, this condition, this illness, this whatever. You were created in the image of God…. Think about that… Created in the Image of God…

Ultimately, if we are Christians, we will grow and have the fruit of the Spirit, which does not burden others or put upon them or put forth angry words or speak harshly. What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

The Greatest Love

What is the greatest love? It is Jesus’ death on the cross and his willingness to give up his life so that we might live more abundantly. He didn’t want us to go on in the same life we’d been living.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. -Jesus John 13:34

Ephesians 5:25-33 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

If we follow his humble example… let’s think of how that scenario plays out. If we are to live like he lived and love like he loved, that’s a tall order! Think how he didn’t condemn sinners – (the woman at the well, the woman the people wanted to stone, and others) but he didn’t party with them or hang out, he was working, living set apart*, he was there to deliver, to minister, not to participate, much like a physician administers a cure, Jesus did the same.  He had the cure, the purest love, with no conditions, except that the person turn from sin. Even when they don’t, he still loves them and is there for them/us when they/we do. Yet he does condemn sin. Jesus doesn’t look down on the ‘scourge’ of the earth, as some might call the unfortunate or the lowliest people, he forgave their sins, and he healed them. He looked beyond their frailties and saw their potential. He looks beyond our faults and sees us as he created us, in his perfect image.

His image covers our faults, our sins, our shortcomings, our inabilities to do things the way others want, our inability to love deeply or to show love freely to others. He sees himself instead of us, because he sees us covered by his blood, not the way we look without his transformative power. That’s what his blood will do, it will wash away all our impurities. It’s good for us to remember that his blood washes our lives clean and makes us look as pure as he is. He loves all of us – the church. Have you thought of how unkempt the church is? Have you looked around and seen the mess many are in and how needy? They were during Jesus’ time also, just different people and different circumstances. So don’t think he has given us an impossible task, because with God all things are possible. He wouldn’t give us anything he couldn’t do. But in our human selves, apart from God, most of us fall short, and we must go back to his reminder, to love each other as he has loved us, with his greatest love. We must Allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions towards others, then we may also show the greatest love. But it is only by submitting weekly, daily, and hourly to the Holy Spirt and let him be in in control of our thoughts and attitude to share the greatest life and love.

 

*set apart: He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. – Hebrews 7:26