Before moving up to the Gold Coast, Sandra and I lived down in Canberra. ANZAC day is very important in Canberra; because it is the time of the year everyone turns on their ducted gas heating! Most Canberra homes are well heated and so, even when the temperatures drop to sub-zero outside, inside they can be warm and inviting. Being outside in the cold can be quite uncomfortable, without warm clothes or places of shelter. We often take for granted how good our lives are, in comparison to others who don’t have the access to food, shelter or support systems that we do. Our need for relationships that are supportive are well documented. Trying to survive without the warmth and connection of others can be very damaging to our health and well-being.
God has made as for relationships! Even though many of us can be quite independent – we are designed to be interdependent; to interact with others – to cooperate and collaborate to make and shape communities, with the individual gifts and experiences that we all possess. We need each other. We need to be able to love and be loved – regardless of our failings….we need to able to express our emotions in positive and constructive ways. We need to able to laugh together, cry together and help each other grow closer to God – because that is the real goal of Christian relationships.
However, sometimes our selfishness gets in the road…especially when we are usurped of the being the most important (demanding) person in a home – a good example of this is when little children come along. We learn that the world does not revolve around our needs – but functions best when we compromise and work together for shared goals. But how do we succeed at life when no everyone is playing by the same set of rules?
In John 13:31-34 Jesus gave a final command to his disciples – he said ‘love each other as much as I love you!’ In the last few weeks we have talked about agápē love as the highest form of love…that is shown in the love of God for us; sacrificial; totally committed; generous giving love….love without boundaries! Jesus modelled this type of love by willingly dying in our place – so that we might have a second chance at life.
This time of the year we often reflect on the sacrifices of others who gave their lives so that their families and friends might continue to experience the freedoms that our society has to offer. But the greatest example of love is Jesus…and in following his example is the ultimate goal of his followers and the best advertising to the wider community.
We are made in God’s image; we can experience a whole range of emotions; we can think, chose and exercise our will. But to really succeed in life – to experience the joy of knowing Jesus – we are invited to hand over that control to him – to become his followers and to love the way that he showed us.
Finding the joy of knowing Jesus and following in him is the way that leads to a fulfilled life – both now and in the future. I hope that that is the path that you are on!