In my devotions lately, I've been reading in 1 Thessalonians. Tuesday I studied 4:9-12, which I paraphrased like this:
"Paul said, 'I don't even really have to mention that you should love one another because you've pretty well figured that out. I just encourage you to do it more and more. I do remind you to be responsible in all areas of your life and to live honestly so you will be a good witness without being fake.'"
which prompted me to write this as an application:
"Do things, not for the end result, but for the honest desire to do them. Love your neighbor, not so he will think you are a good person, but because God commands us to, and it therefore should become our desire to do so."
This reminds me of a great lesson I learned once while watching an episode of Boy Meets World, which I've been trying to work into my blog for some time, and I finally found a way to make it work! In this particular episode, as usual, Shawn was going through a rough time. I don't remember the specifics. Cory, being the great friend that he is, gave Shawn a basketball as a gift. (The basketball had some significance, but that's one of the specifics I've forgotten.) Shawn, however, was very unappreciative; he was still caught up with the gravity of whatever his current situation was. When Corey realized Shawn's unappreciativeness, he became angry. Mr. Feeny, of course, stepped out his back door in time to realize what was going on, so when Shawn stormed off, Mr. Feeny stepped in with his ever-ready advice-for-life. He reminded Corey that true generosity doesn't do something to receive something in return. Corey, logically, protested, saying that he didn't expect anything in return, only a "thanks." Expecting a "Thank You," however, as Mr. Feeny pointed out, IS expecting SOMETHING in return. It's very humbling to see that TRUE generosity means you don't even take into consideration whether or not the person will appreciate what you do for them. That just about wipes out every time I've ever thought I had been generous in my whole entire life! On the same note, I wrote last week, in reference to 2:1-8, "True discipleship is when you not only teach someone from the word of God, but also pour yourself into that person with the honest desire for their very best. Truely investing in someone's life with no desire for yourself is the most God-like form of love." I pray that I could learn to do things without some hidden selfish motivation. It's a constant decision we must make to lay aside what's best for us for the benifit of others, and mostly the benifit of Christ. It's tough, but I pray that Christ would make it possible for me. We have a glorious hope in Christ. We have not been abandoned. We are not forgotten. He dwells in us and with us, and makes all things possible. How inspiring!