The Joy of Loving Others: A Personal Testimony

THE STORY:

Earlier today, while I was at work, I had a conversation with a young Army officer (Infantry Lieutenant). The day prior he was notified that he would not be graduating Ranger School. Instead he would be forced to leave, which is a great professional embarrassment! I talked with him for about 15 minutes. I tried to encourage him. I told him my professional failures. Namely, how I was fired as a platoon leader in the Ranger Battalion and how much I learned from that experience. At the end of our conversation he told me, “Sir, but it is just so depressing….this is awful!” I looked at him and said, “The only tragedy in life is to die not knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. In the grand scheme of things….this is not that bad.”

There was no emotional conversion. His response was mild. He thanked me and said he had thought about God more since he started Ranger School. But there were no spiritual fireworks. However, I was encouraged. Before I talked with him, God put it on my heart to speak to him about spiritual things. I noticed he was dejected and it dawned on me that perhaps he would be open. I did not know what I was going to say, or if he would even want to talk about spiritual things. But I simply took a small step of faith and told my self I would try.

THE LESSON:

What is my point? I simply want to encourage you to love others also. Do not simply “know Christ” and His saving power and not tell anyone. Loving others does bless you. As Paul says above, “love edifies”. My experience today encouraged my Spirit. God had worked thru me to encourage this young man and, in turn, I was also edified. I walked away thinking, “Wow….God’s Spirit does really guide His people. Our God is real!”

But the lesson is not complete. I must contrast love with pure knowledge. I, selfishly, could study the bible all day. I could fill my head with knowledge and by doing so, could become “arrogant”. In fact, one of my struggles is just that – I do not apply my knowledge in love. I simply going about my daily business not acting on the knowledge of God in my head. Therefore, I encourage you – as I encourage myself – to apply the knowledge of God to your world. Namely, share the gospel! Though persecution will come, the joy and warmth of God’s Spirit upon us as we share the truth, encourages us and edifies us. We too can then say, as Paul said to the Philippians, “make my joy complete” (Philippians 2:2) and John, “I have no greater joy than to see my children (spiritual children) walk in truth.” (3 John 4)

1 Corinthians 8:1b – “…Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.”

Philippians 2:2 – “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose.”

3 John 4 – “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

About Sam Ketcham

Christian, Husband, Father and Soldier.
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