God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.
In our last post from the book of Acts we saw how Philip inspires us to follow Jesus, even when we don’t understand him. If you’re interested you can learn more here: Following God (Even when I don’t understand Him): Acts 8:25-26.
In today’s post we see another way in which Philip serves as a great example.
And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”Acts 8:27-30
So God tells Philip to go over and join this Ethiopian eunuch, an important court official of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians. He was in charge of all her treasure. What strikes me is how different this man is from Philip. He’s black and Philip is white. He’s a eunuch and Philip would later become a father of four daughters. And in those days, at that time, most people walked when they traveled. If you were well to do, you rode an animal. Only the wealthy rode in chariots. So the Ethiopian eunuch was wealthy. Philip was walking. (Keener) (Acts 21:8-9)
Loving People Who Are Different
But when Philip hears about this opportunity from God to go over and join up with this person who was very different from himself, Philip runs to him.
I’ve written before about how this life God has given us is a gym, it’s not a hotel or a cruise. Life’s not about our own personal satisfaction or comfort. The reason we’re here is to learn how to love God, to learn how to love others, and . . .
To learn how to love people different than ourselves.
Maybe some of God’s best work in this area occurs in our marriages. I don’t know about your wife or husband, but my wife Kathy is very different from me. I often struggle to understand her. But I think she’s a big part of God’s work. He’s using Kathy to teach me how to love someone different than myself.
This extends beyond our marriages though. We see this throughout the gospels and the New Testament. The Romans occupy Israel and they’re hated by many but Jesus heals the Roman centurion’s servant. The Samaritan’s theology is all wrong and they’re hated by the Jewish community but Jesus spends two days with them sharing about himself. Jesus ministers to lepers and prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors. These are all people who are profoundly different from Jesus and Jesus’ Jewish religious community.
That’s all I want to say today.
That’s all I believe God wants me to say today.
He wants you and He wants me to learn how to love people who are different than we are.
That’s what Philip did in today’s passage.
That’s what God would have me and you do too.
“Father, please help me and the dear person reading this right now. Fill us with the affection of Christ for people different than ourselves. Help us to overcome our expectations for others with the Love of Jesus. Help us to be sensitive to Your leading and to join ourselves to people we perceive as different.
“In Jesus’ name we ask this of You.
Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament,
InterVarsity Press, 1993, p. 346
Image of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip via Wikimedia Commons
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Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
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This post is a real challenge. I would not lie, I have met people that I found really impossible to love, no matter how hard I tried. It takes a lot of mental effort to love a toxic person. May God guide us in this department.
I’ve had this tab open for a week before I read it. I knew the post would challenge me to deal with thinking through a difficult for me relationship. It did. I’m so stubborn sometimes. I’m already thinking through ways I can partially extend an olive branch in one particular relationship, but just a small olive branch isn’t enough. God placed me in my situations to fully love others. I know blessings are on the other side if I can get over my pride and love like Jesus. Yet, the conversation continues in my head.
Blessed are those wo keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! Psalm 119:3
I can so relate to your comment Adam! As is usually the case, I was writing to myself as much as to anyone. You mentioned pride. It took me a long time to notice, but I’ve found that the genuinely humble people I know tend to be the most stress free people I know, and also the best at loving like Jesus. I appreciate you! Thank you for stopping by.
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