Helping others is not always easy. Their idea of what you need to do is sometimes a little different than your idea of what you are capable of doing. It can be frustrating and disappointing when an effort to help is met with a lack of success.

I have to remember that I measure success much differently than God does and that how much help I actually and able to give someone else is just a side note compared to demonstrating that my help comes from the Lord.

I need to be sure that I don’t act as if I no longer need help and that I have the world by the tail and the answers to life just flow from me like a roaring river. I am in constant need of assistance in this life. I am incapable of going it alone even for a day. I must humble myself before God and allow him to lift me up and not go back to the idea that I will tough it out on my own and when trouble comes I’ll yell out for God to bail me out again.

Psalm 121:1 I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

I’m so prone to forgetting this that when I try to help others I tend to go back to doing it all on my own and wondering why I feel like I often fail. Honestly, in helping others and trying to get them back on track, there is sure to be a failure along the way. I can’t constantly do for others and watch them do nothing for themselves. The whole point of helping others isn’t to make it so life is easy for them. It is to teach them to find help in the same place I find help. My failures point me back to that fact.

1 John 4:15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.

My goal in helping others isn’t to be their taxi service or food service or baby-sitter. Doing all these things in a time of need is a good thing to do but these are merely temporary deeds. Meeting someone’s needs today doesn’t necessarily teach them to seek out the one that provides for all of their tomorrows. The real reason to help others is to show them the benefits of having God living in them.

In Celebrate Recovery, we call this process ‘recovery’. A lot of people feel they don’t need recovery but in truth, we all do this in one way or another. Stepping up out of the failures of self-reliance and the futility of managing our problems in our own power is often just much more pronounced with an addict or deeply broken soul. But the process of sanctification is for every man and just having God alive in us doesn’t mean we let him run the show. There isn’t a switch that puts God in control.

1 John 4:16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

I went for many years not realizing that God truly loved me at all. I felt his love was conditional and that if I wasn’t living life just so-so that his love waned. That’s how I felt about others and I molded my view of God into my own image. God is not like me. I have to strive to become more like him and be molded into his image.

Helping others is more than just doing things for them. It is loving them. I have to do it even if I am not all that good at it. For one thing, when I try to show love to others, I learn that it is really hard to do when they treat me badly in return. I have to still do it because God has taught me that love is unconditional. I don’t have to hang around them and continue to be abused but I can’t stop loving them.

1 John 4:17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

I don’t need to be discouraged if my ability to love others seems a bit deficient for today. As I live in God and he lives in me, my love will grow more perfect. When I throw love out there and it gets kicked around and abused by others, it doesn’t wither away and die. It grows roots. Its roots don’t just grow into the soil of my heart but they grown into the heart of God.

This love isn’t temporary. This love is eternal. What I do today matters and will not fade away when it is done in love. These things will stand judgment. These things will stand the fire. No matter what anyone does or says can diminish its worth.

I won’t let the rejections and misunderstandings of yesterday pronounce failure on my attempts to love. I will press on and allow God to perfect my love and see eternal results. My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. There’s no better help than that.

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