Divine resources for a changed life are always available.

Some time ago I came to realize that I did not love the people next door. They were, by any standards, dangerous and unpleasant people—ex-bikers who made their living selling drugs.

They had never tried to harm my family, but the constant traffic of people buying drugs, a number of whom sat in the yard while shooting up, began to wear down my patience. As I brooded over them one day, indulging my irritation, the Lord helped me see that I really had no love for them at all, that after “suffering” from them for several years I would secretly be happy if they died so that we could just be rid of them. I realized how little I truly cared for nearly all the people I dealt with through the day, even when on “religious business.” I had to admit that I had never earnestly sought to be possessed by God’s kind of love, to become more like Jesus. Now it was time to seek.

But is it possible to be like Jesus? Can we actually have the character of the heavenly Father? We know God shows sincere love for everyone and is consistently kind to even the ungrateful. Jesus likewise showed himself to be merciful, freely forgave injuries, and was glad simply to give, expecting nothing back.

It is possible, I now believe, to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). Ordinary people in common surroundings can live from the abundance of God’s kingdom, letting the spirit and the actions of Jesus be the natural outflow from their lives. The “tree” can be made good, and the fruit will then be good as a matter of course (Matt. 12:33). This new life God imparts involves both a goal and a method.

His Heart, Our Heart

As disciples (literally ...

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