Sunday, March 25, 2012
This year, I have been blessed to be a part of the devotions committee at HPA. Through this past year, we have taken a character every week, and made an analogy with them to our Christian walk. This past week I did a devotion relating to Belle, and I though you blog-readers might find it encouraging as well. :)
Today, I wanted to discuss Belle, especially since the Lord has really been laying this topic on my heart lately. Particularly, I would like to talk about her sacrificial love for her Father. When she finds her Father in the dungeon, he tells her to leave immediately because of the danger she’s in. She refuses; her first and only concern is to get her sick Father out of that dreadful place. Her concern stays the same throughout the whole scene; she eventually gives up her life of freedom to stay in the dark, cold, dungeon so her Father can go free. She’s putting his best interests over hers.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the phrase, “Love each other as brothers and sisters”. We get this phrase from 1 Timothy 5:2, where it says, “Treat younger women… as sisters in all purity.” Obviously, this can be applied vice versa as well. Likewise, if we have put our trust in God, we are his children, which makes us brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. I’m sure pretty much all of us would readily agree that we are brothers and sisters, and should treat each other as such, as God commands. But what does that really mean? What does that practically look like? Well, the people in the early church obviously had these questions, too, because in 1 Peter 3:8-9, Peter writes, “Love each other as brothers and sisters. Sympathize with each other. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing.” A little later, in chapter 4:8, he writes, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” If you think about it, all of these actions Peter mentions really can be summed up quite easily. In Paul’s words, found in Galatians 5:13, he writes simply, “Through love, serve one another.” It is our God-given responsibility to serve each other. To do what’s best for the other person. To do what they want, instead of what you want. This is what true, brotherly love is all about: putting others before yourself.
This is what Belle did. And could you imagine how that story would have ended had she not given up her freedom for her Father? The Prince would have died as the Beast, and he and Belle would never have loved each other. Her Father would have died in the dungeon, and Belle would be doomed to spend the rest of her life in the dull, provincial town, likely as Gaston’s wife! God will take our hearts, our choices, our decisions to serve others and use them! But that means we have to actually do it. :)
There is another part to this, though. We need to do what’s best for others EVEN IF WE THINK WE HAVE A GOOD EXCUSE. “But I deserve to go first!” “But I’m in a hurry!” Theater in particular can be very self-centered – just think of all the “I got this part!” “I need to do this!” “I need to do that!” “I want to sing this part!” All too often, especially in theater, it is SO EASY to get caught up in ourselves, and what WE need or want. Unfortunately, God doesn’t say, “Put others first – unless you’re in a hurry, have something to do, or have a good excuse.” Because God doesn’t work like that. I mean, think about God’s love for us – his sent his one Son, who by the way was still God, to come to earth and die on a cross – because He loves us. Really, God could have used a very legitimate excuse – I’m God! I created EVERYTHING! I’m not going to endure all that pain and death just for the people I made! But God doesn’t make excuses. And as his children, we shouldn’t either.
I want to close with one last verse, from Philippians 2:3, that really hits home with me, and I hope will for you as well. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others as better than yourselves.”
I want to challenge each one of us (myself included), in these crazy next two weeks of rehearsals and show, to learn to love each other as brothers and sisters in all purity. To do what’s best for the other person, not ourselves. Could you just imagine what this cast, this show could look like if we all learned to love each other as God would have us do?
Here are a few more verses that I found in preparing for this devotion that I didn't have a chance to use in it.
“Having purified your souls by an obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:22
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you love for one another.” John 13:35
“Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
“Don’t let anyone look down on you, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12