Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Christmas Message About My Value

But worth, value, and beauty is not determined by some innate quality
But by the length for which the owner would go to possess them
And broken and ugly things just like us are stamped “Excellent”
With ink tapped in wells of divine veins
Lofty, by Propaganda

It’s Christmas time, a very unique time of the year. Around the world families are gathering together to share in the joy of gift giving, pastors are struggling to think of new ways to present a familiar message, and many individuals are alone and bitterly hating the festivities of a season that only serves to heighten their loneliness. It’s all too easy to miss the meaning of Christmas in the hustle and bustle of Hallmark movies and candy canes.

How often in life are we found not to be good enough? If you’re familiar with my blog, you will know that this is one of my great struggles. In my mind, there is a standard of goodness that, even though I’m not perfect, I feel the need to meet. This plays out in my friendships, my academics, my spiritual formation, and most evidently in my leadership in ministry. I’m not good enough to please me, let alone a perfect and holy God.

King David perfectly expresses the way I feel in Psalm 51:3, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” It’s not so much the big occasional sins that get me down: everyone makes mistakes. But it’s the accumulation of small avoidable mistakes, the consequences of character not properly developed, that weigh heavy on me.

One thing I know, and have always known is that I want to live a spectacular life of service to God. I want to make the most of all the blessings God has given me. “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”( Luke 12:48). I don’t want to disappoint God.

The true beauty of Christmas is that I’m reminded again that my value to God is not in what I do. Those slightly tacky nativity scenes remind me that before I had any thought or intention to worship God, He thought I was worth dying for. There was no innate quality in me that God wanted to redeem. The bible makes it clear that Jesus died for sinners, while we were enemies of God.

A young couple from a small town 2000 years ago received the news that they would be imperfect parents to the saviour of the world; God would live with them for 30 years, in their house. I wonder how many times Mary questioned her parenting abilities. I wonder how many times Joseph wished he could provide better accommodations for Yahweh incarnate. I wonder how many times Jesus’ siblings compared themselves to their sinless brother and found themselves lacking. But the fact is God allowed Himself to be raised by their imperfection. The baby in a manger grew up, having infinitely more innate value than His own parents, yet was raised by them.

Today, He continues to trust imperfect people to fulfill His plan on earth. He gave the great commission to the same people who denied Him, doubted Him, and generally didn’t understand Him. Even in Acts 1:6, the disciples were still concerned about Jesus rising up and overthrowing the Roman government. They still didn’t get it, and they were the ones God chose to use to invite humanity back to Himself.

To whom much is given, much is required. That is still true. But Christmas is a time to remember that God never values us for what we can do for Him, or how effectively we use the gifts He’s given us. God looked at selfish sinners at our worst and thought we were worth dying for.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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As I Look Forward to Not Being Single

I’m a single guy. I’ve not been in a serious relationship for over four years now. I can honestly say that while there are a lot of blessings to being single, I’m not single by choice. That is, if I got to pick, I would be in a stable, God-honouring and mutually edifying relationship today. It’s just that life hasn’t worked out that way for me yet and I’m not altogether unhappy about this. I’m only 20 and surrounded by amazing brothers and sisters whose friendship constantly challenges me to greater depth in my walk with God.

As I move closer to graduation, though, my mind muses over my future hopes and dreams. I plan to be married someday, and I need to develop my vision for marriage. In some ways I’m glad I’m single now, because I get to define, on my own, my standards and goals for future relationships and begin preparing myself to lead the sort of marriage I want to have. I don’t have a list a rigid list of physical or socioeconomic characteristics that I want to find in a wife; when you like somebody enough, some of those things become irrelevant. I do have four inflexible concepts for how I would like to share my life in a dating or marriage relationship.

Love God together: I believe that everything in life needs to be done as an act of worship to God, including loving a girlfriend or wife. God is my first love in life; everything else either contributes to or competes with my love for God. Do I sound a little fanatic? Yes, unashamedly. I don’t always feel the way I should about God, spend enough time in talking to Him and hearing from Him, or resist sin in a manner worthy of His grace to me, but I love God.

So when I think of dating or marriage, I don’t just want to be with a woman who loves God; I want to be with someone who loves God with me. Is she someone with whom I can share what God is teaching me? Are we able to challenge each other to godliness or call each other out on sin and folly with grace? Is praying together a natural and enriching experience? Are our responses to each other naturally seasoned with truth from the bible?

In preparing myself to lead this kind of marriage, I ask myself: How am I growing in loving God in such a way that I can lead in loving God together?

Serve God together: I want to be active in serving God throughout my life. Whether it’s in going on missions, serving in a church, volunteering in the community, mentoring younger men, teaching the bible, being involved in bible studies, praying with and for people, etc; I want to be actively responding to the gospel by doing things that bring glory to God and display His love to people. More than that, I want my future marriage to be a partnership of hearts excited to serve God. I don’t simply want someone who will follow me as I serve, but who will be passionately engaged in ministering to people as we challenge each other to greater sacrifice in loving God through how we live our lives.

A wise mentor gave me some great dating advice on. He said, “Serve God with all your might. And as you are engaged in serving, look to the left and to the right. The woman who is right there beside you is the one.” And so as I look forward to the day I’m not single anymore, I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:32, “The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.”

In preparing myself to lead this kind of marriage, I ask myself: How am I growing in serving God sacrificially in such a way that I can lead in serving God together?

Dream Together: Those who know me know that I don’t have a well organized life plan. There are dreams that I do have, however. I dream of doing completing a post graduate degree in theology; I dream of having a platform to teach God’s word; I dream of mentoring men and using my life to show how we relate to God as desperately sinful humans; I dream of being vulnerable with the flaws in my life, marriage, character, theology, etc; I dream of dreaming up more dreams.

I dream of being able to sit down with my wife and dream together of all the ways God can use us to change the world for His glory. I dream of a life where present realities never get in the way of working towards something great and risky. I dream of long nights of prayer with my wife for God to show us how He plans to work out the plans He has placed in our hearts.

In preparing myself to lead this kind of marriage, I ask myself: How am I growing in formulating and communicating vision in such a way that I can lead in dreaming together?

Watch Football together: Just (kinda) kidding.

Enjoy Community together: I believe in the power of Christian community. This is not to put down the time I spend with my friends who are not Christian because I love being able to see different perspectives and learn about life outside the confines of my Christian bubble. There is, however, something spiritual and wonderful about being in Christian community. In my life, that’s going to likely be centered on a church family. For me, agreeing with every word the pastor preaches or liking the style of music are not the most important thing in a church; being able to enjoy fellowship with its members is what makes a church great. I thank God that every church I’ve been a part of in my time as a Christian has been full of this kind of Christian community.

When I think of marriage, I’m not so concerned about agreeing on every abstract theological concept with my wife, but I think it’s important to be able to commit joyfully to the same church. We don’t need to go to the same church when we first meet but there needs to be a mutual vision to, as we grow closer to each other, be able to worship God in the same community.

In preparing myself to lead this kind of marriage, I ask myself: How am I growing in creating, maintaining and appreciating community in such a way that I can lead in enjoying community together?

As I look forward to not being single, I reflect on Paul’s words to the Philippian church:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:12-17)

So yes, I do long for the day (and hope it’s not too far away) when I find myself in meaningful exclusive relationship with a woman who loves God together with me. But I also thank God I’m single today because there isn’t a single one of those values that I excel in at the moment (except watching football. I’m awesome at that). I can still be growing in these, and every day I remain single is another day I get to work on these areas.

And to all my single friends, I want to encourage you with words from Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Join me in the quest to continue growing in godliness, trusting God to provide a partner who will come beside you and worship God with you. 

Letter to Myself

Six months ago, I wrote a letter to myself. I was just finishing a mission trip in Uganda in which I learned so much about God and myself and about leadership. I’ve been blessed to read this letter and I hope it’s a blessing. Here are the things I thought would be important to remember…

Future Bim:

Around six months from the time I write this, you’ll be reading it. A lot will have changed, but not too much, I hope. Second semester will soon begin and with it, a new cycle of ministry. Here are some things I hope you have not forgotten, or if you have I hope to remind you. It’s God who qualifies and equips you for ministry. Regardless of how high or low you may feel, the biggest mistake you can make is trusting in your own strength. God has given you gifts. From a young age, we’ve known this and have had to always resist the temptation to rely and trust in those gifts. Yet God has blessed you to change the world by abiding in Him. Apart from Him, you can bear no fruit. The Spirit filled life is as necessary in your ministry as in your personal walk. As you lead in Power to Change and to seek to serve in church and to love the people in your life, abide in God and work by His Spirit and see what He will do. If by this time you’re in a relationship, that is another area to trust to God. I know my heart and it loves to create idols, yet God demands to be first. If not, praise God and seek to bring God praise in your singleness. Men are looking to you as an example in how to live sold out for God. That pressure is on your shoulders and it is much greater than you can handle. Only by God’s strength can you edify your disciples as you know God wants.

A couple of things to keep in mind: First, place a high value on spiritual multiplication. You’re leaving McMaster and many leaders with you. Ministry at McMaster will be continued by the younger men you have an impact on.  As much as it is in your power, make sure that they are equipped to serve the campus by bringing the gospel to those who haven’t heard. Give them opportunities to lead, teach them discipleship, cast the vision and begin to pull back and let them step up. There is so much potential and God has placed you in a position to help develop it.

Secondly, read the encouragement letters you received from Uganda. God taught you so much about leadership and those lessons are reflected in the praise you received from your staff and teammates. These letters can show you strengths you can continue to grow in and ways God wants you to lead. And when you’re down they can remind you that the work you do is appreciated.

Third, continue to be yourself in leadership. You are not Corey or Andres or Bahy or any of these men you look up to. You are Bimisayo. You have a personality given by God which He wants to use for the works He created you for. Feel free to laugh and joke and tease. Strive to include those who are feeling left out. Let people laugh at and with you. Use these gifts to bond with people so they can be more open as you seek to impart into them. Yet remain humble, don’t hog the spotlight or desire your own glory. Be glad to step up or step back as the Spirit leads and the situation determines. Seek opportunities to teach and always be ready to learn and to repent. Be a little impulsive but mostly wise in decision making. Most of all, love others more than yourself and always be ready, even joyful, to serve.

God will help you in all these things in Jesus name. Amen

Bimisayo Adeyi

Qualifications for Leadership

Reasons I’m not qualified to be a spiritual leader

  • I’m not diligent enough with my responsibilities in life
  • I’m not quick to spot or care for the needs of others
  • I often get more excited about football than spiritual matters
  • I speak before I think… often
  • I act before I think… often
  • I’m not a natural or passionate evangelist
  • I care too much about what people think about me
  • I let the slightest things affect my emotions
  • I judge people
  • I have too much confidence in my strengths
  • I take my weaknesses too seriously
  • I don’t want to deal with people’s emotions
  • I love being the center of attention
  • I sometimes don’t even want the responsibility of leadership

So then why do I keep seeking opportunities to lead?

  • Because God’s Word is showing me God’s nature daily (Revelation 4:8)
  • Because God’s Word is opening my eyes to my sin daily (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Because God’s Word is humbling me in God’s presence daily (James 4:6-10)
  • Because God’s Word is making me more holy daily (Psalm 119:9,11)
  • Because God’s Spirit is empowering me to be a witness (Acts 1:8)
  • Because God’s Spirit is helping me experience God’s love and forgiveness (Romans 8:1,2)
  • Because God’s Spirit has blessed me with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-5,11)
  • Because God’s command is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19)
  • Because God’s command is to build up His body- the community of believers (Ephesians 4:11-13)
  • Because God`s command is to teach His Word (2 Timothy 4:1,2)
  • Because my sufficiency is not in myself, but in God working through me (2 Corinthians 3:5)

Christology

Christology: The branch of Christian theology
relating to the person, nature, and role of Christ.

The most important question posed to humanity is this: Who is Jesus? Personally and philosophically, this question has a lot of implications. How we see Jesus has a huge impact on how we live our lives. The foundation of the Christian faith is that Jesus is God, sent to earth to take upon Himself the just penalty of our sin. We become reconciled to God by accepting our inability to meet God’s standard of righteousness by ourselves and accepting the righteousness that He offers. In that moment, we become- as the bible describes it- saved and we receive God’s Holy Spirit through whom we can know God. This knowledge is the foundation of Christian faith. I believe, however, that this knowledge of who Jesus is only the beginning of the Christology on which we build our lives. Knowing God is a journey; not an event. He continues to reveal Himself to us through His Word and through our experience of Him. I have been a Christian for almost five years now and in that time, I have come to see more of who Jesus is. Knowing Him has shaped how I live my life; my thoughts, attitudes, actions and character have been shaped by my understanding of Jesus? I want to present some biblical views on who Jesus is.

Jesus is the Word: Jesus is the central message of the bible. Jesus is the Word, Jesus is glorified in the Word, and through the Word we are drawn to intimacy with Jesus.

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,4)

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

Jesus is God explained: Everyone has questions about God. The bible tells us that if we want to know anything about God, we simply need to study the life of Jesus. He is the answer to the question, “What would God do if He were in my situation.”

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:15,19)

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

Jesus is the head of the Church: Why do we submit to the church? It’s not because the pastors are wise or the music is awesome or the food is free. For all the problems people see in the church, it remains authoritative because Jesus is its head.

“And he is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18)

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15,16)

Jesus makes me good enough: Everyone is a sinner, and by that measure, nobody has the moral authority to call out another person’s flaws. Yet through Jesus’ grace, and not on our merit, we are given a mission to address the sin in the world around us and introduce people to Jesus.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor 3:5)

“…though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:13,14)

Jesus is my access to God: Why do I believe that God hears me when I pray? Why do I stand fully assured of my place with God in eternity when I die? In the Old Testament, the presence of God was lethal to humanity, but by Jesus we can stand before God and have relationship with Him.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)

Jesus is my confidence for the future: Life sucks sometimes. There are a million factors that are beyond my control when I think about my future. But Jesus promises that He will make the most of my life, through good times and bad.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Jesus empowers me to serve Him: Ever read the biographies of the great missionaries and martyrs and wonder how they find the strength to give up so much for God? Ever wonder where you will find the strength to follow God’s instructions in your life? Jesus Himself empowers us to live a life pleasing to Him

“…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16)

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Jesus is my constant companion: People will disappoint us, leave us and hurt us because they are not perfect. Jesus never will.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

Jesus is sovereign: Similar to the point about the future. I don’t understand why the world is the way it is. I don’t understand why bad things happen to some people but not to others. I can’t piece together what the world will look like in a year or five or ten. One thing I do know, though, is that in the grand scheme of things, Jesus is in charge.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16, 17)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus demands to be first: Jesus isn’t satisfied with anything less than first place in the lives of those who would call Him saviour. Our entire life is to be offered up to Him to do with it what He wants.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Jesus is everything I will ever need: Money is important, relationships are important, education and life plans are important. But Jesus can provide these things; they cannot provide eternal life or true earthly satisfaction.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3,4)

Jesus wins: Right now, we live in a world where countless acts are done in rebellion towards God. Our world is at war: God is battling with heavenly beings seeking to usurp His throne and every human choose a side. In the end of it all, though, the Bible promises that Jesus wins.

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11-21)

I Don’t Want to Love

I wrestle with the totality of what our response to the Gospel must be. What is the great commandment of the law? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Loving God is difficult in itself, but how about loving my neighbour? God is perfect and powerful. He will not sin against us or need us in times of weakness; people will. I’ll be honest; I don’t like this command to love my neighbor. I love being with people, talking with people, helping people, giving to people, learning from people, praying for people, sharing Jesus with people; I don’t want to love people. Love is sacrificial; love costs something. I don’t want to love people because there are more people around me than I have the capacity to love. If you want to understand what I mean, think back to everyone you interacted with today, this week, this month: How much would it cost to love them like Christ loved humanity?

In Luke 10:25-37, we see the parable of the Good Samaritan. A lawyer tests Jesus with this question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer was not a mystery to either man: Love God; love people. Jesus then told the parable of the Good Samaritan to show us what this really looks like. A man gets robbed on a dangerous road and is left for dead. He needs help, no one can deny this. Two religious leaders come by and walk by him, and then a Samaritan come around and chooses to help him out. The Samaritan is presented here as a model of loving our neighbor. The Samaritans and Jews hated each other, and for a Samaritan to help a Jew showed a radical love. I’d like to look as three features of this radical expression of love and explain why I don’t want to love people: The Samaritan saw, he cared and he gave.

Seeing: I’m a city kid so I see thousands of people every day. Every morning, I share a bus with probably about a hundred people. I have an average of three classes a day with an average of 50 people in each class. I spend a lot of time in a library with around 200 people daily. How many of these people do I really see? But seeing goes beyond acknowledging presence. The Samaritan saw the need of this stranger. In the parable, it was a pretty easy need to observe, but the Samaritan still had to notice. Everyone’s got needs. Some people wear their problems on their sleeves, some hide it pretty well. I spend significant time in close proximity with around 500 people each day. Imagine if I could see the problems of every one of them. How would my emotions be affected? Would I be constantly depressed with the consistent weight of everybody’s problems? Or would I grow callous and indifferent? What would it cost me to see the needs of those around me?

Caring: Being honest again, I tend to change the channel when the World Vision commercials come on TV; I turn away when I see panhandlers in downtown Toronto or Hamilton; I don’t even watch movies like Blood Diamond or Hotel Rwanda. I don’t want to care. I like to keep my relationships on an intellectual level. I’m okay to talk about philosophy and theology and sports and holiday plans. The thought of delving into people’s deeper needs unnerves me. I barely have a handle on dealing with my emotions, how can I truly care about how others feel? I want to define how I relate with others, but compassion calls me to respond to where people are at. Compassion means that I’m no longer in control of my relationships. I’m required to respond to what circumstances come up. Compassion means that I can’t be concerned with whether someone can reciprocate. I won’t necessarily be in a position to receive a reward or even a simple thank you. Compassion is dangerous: When you allow yourself to feel compassion, you must act, or it evolves into guilt. What would it cost me to have compassion for all the needs I see?

Giving: Imagine if my friends knew that whenever they needed help they could call me. Imagine if they all came to me for a shoulder to cry on. Imagine if I was available to help anyone move or help resolve conflicts. Imagine if I was always ready to have my life interrupted to help someone. How much free time would that leave me? How many late nights would I need to pull to make up study time? How much money would it cost to support all my friends looking to go into missions or long term ministry? What about strangers? How far am I willing to go to show God’s love through serving others? I enjoy giving and helping, but I don’t want to be pushed to my limits. But loving people often requires sacrifice. What would it cost me to give to those around me?

The Good Samaritan parable shows one example of the kind of love Jesus calls us to. On the occasional instance, I can see myself mustering up enough “love” to act to help someone, but to make it a lifestyle? Impossible! I think there are two ways we can respond to God’s call to love our neighbor. One is, we can try our best to do love until it becomes real. We can read books about radical love and invest ourselves in acts of service and pray that God makes these things natural to us. Or we can start small and start being intentional with praying for those who are already in our lives. Pray for God to open up our hearts to see their needs, to feel compassion and to give sacrificially. I think the ideal response is a mix of the two. Maybe I’m not going to feel like going to a friend’s recital or babysitting their kids, but I can do it anyway. But I can’t rely on just doing acts of service in the long term. I need God to enlarge my heart until even I can’t recognize it. I want God to increase my love until I can love more than just my friends. Loving hurts, but we don’t have to do it by ourselves.

So to all my friends, please come to me when you need some help, or just a shoulder to cry on. That grimace on my face simply means that God is working on my heart in that moment. I want to serve you; I just may not feel like it. In the end, however, there’s a joy that comes in serving and knowing that God’s grace in my life was made visible to another person. I want to grow in love, even though I don’t want to.