I was overwhelmed this week by these words of the Prophet Isaiah…
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4 NIV)
He was wounded and stricken for you and me. He took MY punishment and YOUR punishment because of OUR sin.
How do we respond to that? It’s a gift beyond imagination. The ONLY real response to that kind of gift is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. And not stopping there but to love others with the same kind of costly love. Not just to obey from a surrendered heart but also to follow the example of Jesus.
To follow the example of Christ is a minute-by-minute choice rather than a one-time decision I make when I open my eyes in the morning and then I’m good for the day. Breaking things down into smaller chunks seems more manageable to me so maybe I could be intentional about my choice to love the Lord and to love others in each single situation as it comes throughout my day.
I know from experience that it’s impossible to love others with that kind of love. I had an assignment once for an Intentional Discipleship class to choose to love in selfless ways for 24 hours and to write about it. I failed. Seriously. And found out that I can’t do it on my own. But I am not alone. He’s here to help me and so it isn’t an impossible standard to keep. It is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in me and helps me. It is completely possible to be shaped more and more into loving like Jesus every day, one choice at a time.
Our Lord Jesus Christ paid an unimaginable price for our redemption. Should we not also be willing to offer love that costs us something? Willingness is the first step.
Reflecting on love…
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 NIV
Does our Lord Jesus stay too long in our mind and imagination as a tiny sweet baby in a manger? We know it wasn’t a pretty picture but the lights of our Christmas celebration maybe make it sweet. Sweet Christmas ornaments on my page but meditating on heartbreaking pain for Jesus… for me and you and the right way to respond to it.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 NLT
Would you like to try Bible art journaling through Advent? It’s not too late! It could change your heart. Catch up on the Watchful Waiting Joy Advent Focus here on my blog and grab your free printable downloads too.
Supplies Used on these two pages in my journaling Bible:
- Journaling Bible – Journal the Word journaling Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers
- My Free Printable Downloads – Advent Week 2
- Illustrated Faith Pen
- Sharpie No Bleed Pen
- Acrylic Paint
- Little Letter Stamps
- Roller Date Stamp
- StayzOn ink pad
- Washi Tape
- Illustrated Faith enamel heart stickers (I LOVE these! If I had to pick one thing to add to my page every time, it would be these.) I’ve never had the enamel crosses but I think I would love them just as much!