Love comes in answer to being in the presence of God and letting Him fill you life.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Doing alright? It’s your good friend, Bob Cook, I’m back with you once again. The miles drop away and we’re seated together, either in your kitchen or in the front seat of your car, whether you drive to work or wherever, and some of you are just waking up, rubbing your eyes sleepily and saying, “Oh, is that Cook? Is he on already?” [laughter] Listen, I love you, I’m so glad that you’re there, bless your heart.
We’re looking at Ephesians 4:2, what we call a worthy walk, a lifestyle that is worthy of the name of the Lord Jesus, and he starts with lowliness. Lowliness means having a humble opinion of oneself, a deep sense of one’s littleness. In other words, you need Jesus. Can’t get along without Him, everything you are is from Him and everything you can accomplish is through Him. So the phrase that characterizes that, where it is, “I need Jesus.” Then he says “meekness,” and that is exactly what the word in your Greek New Testament means, gentleness, mildness, meekness. And so in the second place, first you said, “I need Jesus,” second, you have to say, “I need people. I need people.” There’s others that are smarter than I, abler than I, more experienced than I, having more gifts and talents than I, and I need them if I’m gonna have anything accomplished.
Well, the last time we were on the air together, I told you about praying, kneeling there at the corner of my desk at the college back in 1962, and saying, “Oh God, I made a deal with you many years ago that I’d be true to you and the Word if you’d send people to me. Now here, I have this need, please help me.” And I took this one file folder here as a young man, just got his PhD from the university, and a fine young man, I knew a little something about his background. And I took the telephone and called his home, his wife answered, and I said, “This is Dr. Cook, I am at the college, you know about us.” “Oh yes,” she said, “we know.” “Well,” I said, “I just wish that I could get your husband to think about coming to work for us.” She said, “Quite frankly, I don’t think he will.” Well, I said, “Have him call me back anyway.” And so we got together and made an appointment to sit down and talk together, and the upshot of the matter was that he came to teach.
It developed later that he turned down a job that would have paid him $12,000 or $13,000 a year to start, and that was pretty good back in 1962. He turned down a job that would have paid him that much to start, and he came to work at the college for, I think, something a little less than $6000, with a few extra perks in it. Somebody asked him, after the years had gone by, said, “Harold, why did you make that decision?” He thought a moment, and then he said, “Well, I guess you have to decide what you’re willing to give up for Jesus and then go do it.” Isn’t that beautiful? Now, that’s the kind of people God sent to me in answer to prayer, wonderful, beautiful, gifted people, people much smarter than I. See, if you wanna get anywhere, ask God to give you the people with whom you may work to get there, and he will. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there, and I know that that’s true.
Lowliness says, “I need Jesus,” meekness says, “I need other people.” Well, what else? If you’re gonna be worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ, he says, “With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering,” that’s an interesting word. I looked it up again, looked these words up again, just to refresh my own memory. I had five years of Greek in college and seminary, but I just wanted to look again at the comprehensive definition of all these words and see how they’re used. This one’s interesting, it actually means large-heartedness, “makrothumia”. Large-heartedness, large compassions, large, deep, loving feelings, you might say. Long suffering. The thing that gives me pause is the prefix there, “makro,” which means big. You’ve heard people say he’s got a heart as big as all outdoors, something like that? He’s got a big heart, he’d give you his shirt, give the shirt off his back? [chuckle] I heard one wag say, “That fellow’s so generous that he would give your shirt off your back.” [laughter] And that’s… You meet that kind of person now and again, don’t you? Large-heartedness.
How does that fit into a Christian picture? Well, it fits right in. Look at the number of times in the Gospel record where you read that the Lord Jesus was moved with compassion. Here comes this leprosy person to him, bowing down to him, beseeching him and saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus, it said, moved with compassion, said, “I will, be thou clean,” and he touched him and he was healed. Here’s a big crowd, they’ve been with the Lord Jesus for two, three days, and it said, “I have compassion on the multitude, for they are as sheep, not having a shepherd.” Compassion, compassion, compassion.
See? There’s the widow who lost her only son in death, and she’s following that body out to the cemetery; in those days, they buried the same day that the death occurred. And so, there she was, following him on out. The Lord Jesus and his disciples met this sad little procession, it says he was moved with compassion. Yes, see, here’s what you’re up against: Either you go through life insulating yourself from the experiences that hurt, or that grieve, or that make you vulnerable, either you do it that way, or else you will make room in your heart for other people’s experiences and feelings and needs. You’ll have a heart big enough to let them in.
Now, which do you want? Do you want to wall your life off, and thus, be safe but sterile? Secure, but not very influential? Is that what you want? Some people do; I’ve had folks say to me straight out, “I simply cannot afford to let myself be vulnerable. I can’t be bothered with other people’s troubles.” And there they were, safe, secure, sterile, fruitless, and not really very happy after all. What you learn through the years is that you don’t find happiness in protecting yourself. Jesus said, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the Gospel the same shall save it until life eternal.” If you try to protect yourself, you end up losing yourself, that’s the way it is. There’s so many truths that deal with spiritual matters that come in the form of a paradox. The way up is down, we often say. What do we mean? You wanna get in there with God, you have to get down before him.
The Bible says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” The way up is down, and the way to be fruitful is to allow yourself to become vulnerable to the hurts and the feelings and the tragedies and the heartbreaks and the longings of other human beings; large-heartedness. You got any room in your heart for others? I know we’re all concerned about members of our family, and that’s natural that we should be. We never pray, Coreen and I, never engage in prayer without asking God to bless the kids and the grandkids and dear ones in the family circle, and dear friends of whom we think. You do that, I think, almost automatically, because that’s the way you are. If you love anybody at all, you’re going to think of them when you pray. But aside from that now, I’m going beyond, now, the family circle, beyond the natural routines of human affection, beyond that.
Have you got any room for the people who aren’t particularly lovable and not particularly attractive? Any room for people with hurts? Any room for people whose lives have been broken? Any room for people who, through their own fault, let’s face it, have gone astray? Do you have any room to love them? Now, you say, “Well, you can’t force yourself to think about people differently than you do.” I realize that, but you see, the Christian life is a continuing miracle and it took God’s grace to save you, and it also takes God’s grace to make you feel any different about others. So Paul says, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” God, working in you, makes you feel different. “It is God that worketh in you,” Paul says in Philippians 2:13. “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God gives you the want to, and then he gives you the ability to follow through in action. Paul says in Romans 5:5, that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.”
And our Lord Jesus prayed for us in his high priestly prayer, and he said, “I want that the love that you’ve loved me with, Father, the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.” Christ working His love through you, see? And Paul said that the outward physical markings of Judaism didn’t amount to anything, but faith, said he, which worketh by love. And he said in Galatians 5, “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not that liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love, serve one another.” The word “serve” is “serve like a slave,” Greek verb douleuo. Slave, work like a slave because you love somebody, and that somebody turns out to be not your… necessarily your son, or daughter, or grandchild, or wife, or husband, or some dear relative. It turns out to be somebody who may not deserve it, somebody who may not even want it, but you’re doing it for the love of Christ.
I said to Hubert Mitchell one day, as we walked down a street in Calcutta, I said, “Hubert, how can you stay here?” It was unbearably hot that day, I think it reached about 120, that’s hot. And in downtown Calcutta, the dear people don’t have any place to go. The chaprasi people, the sidewalk dwellers, their only home is the sidewalk. There they are; every morning, the cart comes by and picks up folk who’ve died during the night, takes them off to be buried, and it’s downtown Calcutta then, and they tell me now, I haven’t been back for some years, but they tell me it’s still a scene of human need, oftentimes of misery. And I said, “Hubert, how can you stay here?” I said, “I think if I were here for any length of time, I would just, I would give up.”
And he stopped and looked at me, and he smiled and he said, “Bob,” he said, “I would too,” but he said, “God has put his love in my heart for these dear people. I love these people.” And his face just shone with something other than human affection in that moment. The love of Christ constraineth us, large-heartedness. You got any room in your heart today for people? Ask God, by His Holy Spirit, to do it for you, will you? Love comes in answer to being in the presence of God and letting Him fill your life. You do it today.
Dear heavenly Father, give us large-heartedness today, divine love in our hearts for others. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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