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The True Love Test (#GrowDeep)
by Rey Diaz
Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2017
I’m not sure you notice this, but we all have some blind spots in our lives were we overestimate ourselves.  The social sciences have developed a theory called Illusory Superiority - a cognitive bias whereby individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities, relative to others. (Dunning-Kruger).  Various studies have been done and the results are very clear – we all have a tendency to overestimate ourselves.  For example, 836,000 high school students were asked “are you below or above average in your ability to relate to others,” and 100% said they were above average.  In a similar study for professors, they were asked “are you above average or below average as a professor,” and 94% said they were above average.  Finally, 100% of drivers put themselves in the top 25% of drivers - even those who had been hospitalized multiple times for driving accidents.

As you can see, none of us is immune. On the surface, it's not a big problem that we tend to overestimate our own abilities.  But it does get a bit dangerous when this happens in the area of our faith, because scripture teaches that we have a tendency towards overestimation and self-deception.  In a Gallup poll study 75% of Christians answered “extremely high” when asked to rate themselves in how they love God and love their neighbor.  The question was further broken down into sub-questions that focused on orphans and the vulnerable.  Although the vast majority answered “yes, we care about our neighbor,” that same study showed that only .1% of all their income was directed toward their neighbor (missions, orphans, the least and the lost).  To put that in perspective, for every $100 they had, only one dime made it to the needs of the world.

This tells me there is a disconnect.  Something is off.


That’s the challenge: we have to be on guard so that we don’t ignore God’s heart for the least and the lost.    A "fully developing disciple of Christ is one who is growing both in love of God and love of neighbor." 

So how do we not fall into a trap of deceiving ourselves?  How do we know if we are really loving our neighbor?  There is a famous story found in Luke 10:25-37 (NLT).  Take some time to read this story on your own.  In this story, Jesus clearly teaches us that what happens to our neighbor matters to God.  And as followers, it needs to matter to us as well.

In the story, two themes show up that demonstrate God’s concern for the neighbor.  Inconvenience and investment.


Serving the least and the lost is inconvenient.  That is a key word in service.  Serving is always inconvenient.  This good Samaritan inconvenienced himself on behalf of his neighbor.

The good Samaritan also invested.  Invested his time, talent, and treasure.  It was very simple actually.  Not rocket science.  Not a degree in community development.  He saw a need.  He felt compassion.  And he invested.

Jesus concluded by asking the rhetorical question “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.  The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”  Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

I believe Jesus is saying the same thing to us.  Go and do the same.  If you really love me, go and do the same. 

Do what?

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Be inconvenienced and Invest in your neighbor.  Why?  Why does this matter to God?  Why is this connected to our love for God?  Because what happens to my Neighbor, matters to God. 

As you grow in love for God, things that matter to God begin to matter to you.  What happens to my Neighbor, matters to God.   And because I love God, it matters to me too.  Jesus is giving us a very simple compatibility test to know if we are heading in the right direction.  Does what happens to your neighbor matter to you? 

God cares about the plight of my neighbor.  God cares about the orphans.  God cares about the vulnerable.  Its inconvenient.  Its costly.

And Its worth it.

God is at work. God is healing.  God is fixing.  God is comforting. God is placing the lonely in families.

God is picking up the millions pieces of the shattered hearts and putting it back together.

The best is yet to come for orphans and vulnerable children because they MATTER to HIM.

What can we do?  Continue growing Love God and Love your neighbor.  Focus on the things that matter to God.

Memorize - Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.


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