Recently, a ninth grade student at the high school for which I substitute teach frequently, wrote something on the blackboard unbeknownst to me. I had written my name, Mrs. Solan, on the board and the two words he (or she?) added were is awesome.
Of course, I was deeply touched! Mark Twain said it best, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Everyone loves to be complimented. It makes us feel good and worthwhile.
I am reminded, however, of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus’) words when He said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone,” Mark 10:18. And this is Jesus speaking!
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, says, “It’s not about me!” The reason that this is so important is because when people praise us – we remember, “It’s not about me.” And when people criticize us (which they will!) – we remember, “It’s not about me!”
This takes us out of the equation and we are not subject to the fickleness of human beings. Sports teams are the best example of this. One week we love our team for winning, the next week, we gripe about how bad they are for losing!
Well, it if not’s about me (and it isn’t!), then who is it about? The answer is clear – It’s all about Yeshua Messiah Jesus!
Yes, Jesus calls us to love like He loved, live like He lived, and to pursue goodness and mercy with everything in us. But we cannot do this on our own.
If we have anything to boast about – it is God and His love for us. If we have reached the place in our lives where we love ourselves, others and God completely (and we never completely will this side of heaven), even that is because of God. It says in 1 John 4:19 that “We love because He first loved us.” So even our ability to love comes from Him.
“It is God who loves the initiation of love. He is always making the first move. God seeks first to love us wonderfully so we can know how much we are loved. It then sets us free to be the same for other people without needing to get anything back. God loves us outrageously and the natural occurrence is that we become open to the process of loving as we have been loved,” said my favorite author and teacher Graham Cooke.
When we come to the place where we truly believe and experience the love and goodness of God for us (personally, passionately, intimately), it is SO wonderful, that all we want to do is to share it with others.
It is that simple and that profound. And so we love by doing the simple things – holding the door for the next person; greeting others with a warm, sincere smile; sending a card to someone in need. There are a million ways to show love and kindness to others and most of them don’t cost a penny.
Some are much harder – forgiving those who have hurt us. Forgiving and loving ourselves. Allowing God into the deepest hurts and pains in our lives – not to have us re-live and reside in those moments, but to allow Him to heal us and free us from those pains, so that we may be whole human beings and so that we may extend this same grace and love to others.
So am I awesome? Yes! But it is because the only True Awesome Person to have ever lived (Yeshua, the Messiah Jesus) lives inside of me.
Another great Jewish writer, Matthew, tells us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.