Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus).
Last Saturday we posted Chapter 9: Jesus And The Holy Spirit.
Love Like Jesus is due to be published later this year. If you’re interested in serving as a beta reader, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter 10 — Love Like Jesus: Jesus And The Fluid Life
So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus was on his way to Galilee when he encountered the woman at the well. It should have been just a short break for water and maybe a little food before continuing on to his scheduled destination, but that’s not how it worked out.
His Holy Spirit led conversation there at the well, led to the people of that Samaritan town to ask him to stay. So, he did. For two days Jesus shared the words of eternal life with the Samaritan townspeople.
How to Love Like Jesus
I love the way Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as living water because when we’re led by the Holy Spirit, our lives often become fluid. (John 7:37-39)
I used to live a life that was just the opposite. I was scheduled to “maximize my productivity.” I scheduled activity after activity, meeting after meeting, appointment after appointment, both professionally and personally. My motivation was sincere. I wanted to be as productive as possible. But without realizing it, I left no room for the Holy Spirit to direct my life. How could He? I didn’t have a minute to spare.
Overscheduling yourself is a great way to kill the Holy Spirit’s influence in your life, and His corresponding fruit, which is loving like Jesus.
Jesus didn’t live that way. Here he is, the most important person on the planet, on a trip to Galilee, and, following the direction of the Holy Spirit, he takes two whole days out of His schedule to talk with the Samaritans.
Can you imagine someone important today, say a CEO or the POTUS, spontaneously taking two days out of his schedule to talk to one small group of ordinary people? It would never happen. Most people I observe in our culture don’t leave room to live a fluid, Spirit-filled life. They like to keep busy. They have things to do. And when the Holy Spirit presents opportunity, they usually don’t respond, because there’s nearly always a previous commitment. Stop and talk with the lonely awkward guy at church? Can’t, gotta lunch date right after. Share the Lord with the newly divorced guy at work? Can’t, gotta make softball practice. Invite the unsaved friend to Bible study? Can’t, too much already going on that day. This doesn’t describe a life led by the Holy Spirit.
A life led by the Holy Spirit is a life that’s flexible, free, and fluid. When you choose to live such a life, you’re in for both good news, and bad.
The Good News
If you live this flexible life, you can love people like Jesus did, that’s the good news. Availability, flexibility, fluidity translates into opportunity for the Holy Spirit to direct you to love people. To love people like Jesus loved people.
The Bad News
The bad news is, some people don’t deal well with spontaneity. When you live this way, you’ll be misunderstood. Some will say you lack discipline. Some might think you’re flaky. Some will become upset with you. That can be tough to take. Especially when some of those people are people you care about. Some might come from your church. Some might even come from your own family. It’s absolutely essential you respond to those people in love. And I think the more diligently you guard your heart, the better you’ll handle those who misunderstand your Spirit-led life. (We’ll address guarding your heart in the next chapter, Guard Your Heart Like Jesus.)
In the end though, it’s worth it. Yes, you’ll come under criticism for what some will perceive to be a disregard for structure, but the fruit that’s born makes it all worth it. Look what happened when Jesus loved this way, many of the Samaritans from that town believed.
So to love like Jesus, live a life that’s flexible, free, and fluid.
You can too.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14
Flowing water image via Kamoteus – Creative Commons