1 John 3:23-24, ESV
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commands abides in God, and God in him…
Abiding in Jesus is good! As we connect deeper with him each day, it can bring us such joy, but if we never get past ourselves and horde that joy, then we’re not abiding in Jesus fully.
James 1:27 tells us, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (NLT). In the Old Testament in Isaiah 58, God condemns Israel for going through the motions and appearing religious, but not actually treating others kindly in their day-to-day lives:
Isaiah 58:6-8, NLT
No, this is the fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind
As these verses in the Old and New Testaments show, helping others isn’t just a good thing to do but is essential in the life that is seeking to abide in Jesus. God goes where the hurting people are. He did it as Jesus, and he asks us to do it as his followers.
Serving others can take a hundred different forms. It can be taking a meal to someone who needs it. It can be giving time and money to a cause close to your heart. It can be giving away a pair of shoes you just bought to a person who may need them more. It can be raking a neighbor’s leaves. It can be driving someone to appointments who can’t drive themselves.
Also, think about ways you can get your family involved. When our family chooses Compassion children to sponsor, we let our sons pick the kids. When I take a meal to someone, I often let my sons help me prepare it and carry it to the door just like my Mom did with me. Kids like to “help” and they want to feel needed. Helping you serve fills those needs while giving them a foundation for abiding in Jesus themselves through service later on in life.
It doesn’t just have to be your kids. My friends and I recently had a yard sale to benefit another friend who has Lyme’s disease, and my sister and brother-in-law take a yearly trip to serve in Romania. Serving with others helps connect you to each other and the heart of God.
As you spend time with God today, ask him to open your eyes to all the opportunities around you to serve. Then dive in. You may not feel comfortable at first, and you won’t be able to help everyone, but helping even one person can make a big difference. God loves people, and as his followers, we should see and love them, too.
Pray and make a plan. Ask God to open your eyes to the needs around you. Then write your plan and give it a date, so you’ll remember to follow through. I’d love to hear what ideas you’ve come up with. Please share in the comments below!
Abiding with Kids
Kids can have good ideas about service and may see needs that we miss. Ask them. Get them involved in serving others. Depending on their ages, you might make a meal for someone and take it to them, draw a picture or write a card to encourage someone, help mow a yard and weed flower beds, help clean someone’s house… there are so many possibilities. Make a plan, write it down, and date it. Then get going!
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