I read a report of a plant that was brought to America illegally that was fast-growing and now was attacking other native-born species. Volunteers were joining the battle to remove those invasive plants but were discouraged to learn they were also being sold in local garden stores. The local government finally got involved and was able to stave off more trouble after citizens complained about plant loss and economic decline in their town.
The old movies about attacking plants, creatures, insects, animals, even visitors from outer space are entertaining, and even scary at times. Yet we often hear of real-life cases of a new critter that is threatening another species and the warning is sent out to keep watch.
Thinking about these invaders can help us to understand a key principle when it comes to life. Trees, grasslands, animals of all sorts, and a myriad of various sized insects and birds are crucial to life on the planet. It is right to care for the environment around us, and we need to continue to be great stewards of planet Earth. But human life is the most important because of how we are created. We are all made in God’s image.
Read Luke 14:26.
Jesus warned us that anything that competes with Him for our hearts can literally choke out our spiritual lives. Our love for family, even parents, as natural as it is, could be dangerous and keep us from following Him (read verses 16-26). Jesus, our Lord, demands our ultimate and undivided attention, love and loyalty.
Listen to Aliyah tell me her story. “The turning point was when I joined Chi Alpha my senior year. I got into a small group of Christians and found the friendships that I needed to shift my focus to God. My heart was still hardened towards making God my number one priority. But I started praying for God to change me in a big way. I went to the Chi Alpha SALT Conference over winter break with an open mind. Throughout the weekend God slowly but surely was softening my heart. While we were worshipping God together on the last day, something clicked in me. I realized that Jesus should be the first priority in my life. In order to be free from my sin, I needed to trust Him as my Savior and commit to making Him Lord in all areas of my life. I decided to dedicate my life to God and give Him control.
After this revelation, there was new meaning to everything. I was now free from sin and shame. I realized that God had a plan for my life that is greater than anything I could imagine. All the knowledge I had from years of going to church camp changed from head to heart knowledge. I was now ready to walk with Jesus and allow Him to lead me. I then began to gain the tools to grow closer with Him and become the person He wanted me to be. I started participating in Chi Alpha every week. I was going to small group, weekly large group, and church with my friends on Sunday. My life has completely transformed and I am excited to see where God takes me.”
Once we value Christ above everything else, we will learn to love our family and friends with a deeper and healthier love. But it starts when we determine where our ultimate loyalty goes. Home grown affections are good, but not best. Like a plant species that is invading a garden, or an out-of-control forest fire, it needs to be taken care of.
Serve globally. The ancient saints believed that to follow Christ meant that we must let go of all that we hold dear. Once we have denied ourselves, our gains in Christ will become more clear. The more we love Jesus Christ, the more we will be empowered to love others.
Love is a verb,
©2020 by Mike Olejarz