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Hey there, I'm Sunny Shell, a wretch saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm married to the most incredible man on earth, who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and we have two precious adult sons.

The compassionately endures me through my metabolic disease (since 2004) that enables me to be more prayerful and careful about commitments I make and helps me to make the best use of my short time here on earth.

If you want to know more about me, click HERE.

Well Loved or Loved Well?


Death.

Not something most people want to think or talk about. For those who don't know Christ, I can certainly understand why. But for fellow disciples of Christ, I must admit, I'm a bit bewildered when I discover death is not a daily consideration. We often read in Scripture that we must die to self and live our new lives in Christ (Gal 2:20). We are commanded by God to live as those who know that our days our numbered and our time here on earth is only a short journey (Psalm 90:12, Eph 5:15-17). Keeping this in mind, we press on toward our heavenly call God has given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 3:14).

Having been blessed by God to live the life I've lived for the past 42 years, death is something that's often on the forethought of my mind. The LORD mercifully endured me through 13 years of abuse and persecution, many bouts of diseases and disorders that threatened my life as well as nearly dying giving birth to my first son. For the past 7 years I've been blessed by our good and gracious Heavenly Father to persevere through chronic illness that has included 2 surgeries, countless procedures, a collection of more specialists than there are colors in the rainbow and daily reminders that I am weak; something I gladly boast about (2 Cor 12:9-10).

Death is often on my mind, as I constantly realize that I'm not guaranteed my next breath. I know how fleeting my life is—like grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. It may sound depressing to say that I think about death often, but if you look at it in the light of eternity, it's not. For a Christian, death is the end of a tough journey, and a passage way to the glorious eternal life Jesus suffered, died and rose to give us! So I live daily, for the day I will die. Just like my Jesus: We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5).

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
~Ephesians 5:15-17

How will I be remembered?

I want to be remembered as someone who loved others well, rather than be remembered as someone who was well loved by others.

Why?

Because though it could reveal a bit about how I lived my life, it really says more about the other people God graciously put around me. If I am remembered as someone who was well loved, that could mean I was a kind person. It could mean that I did nice things, or made people feel good. But then again, it could also mean that I was a self-centered, selfish, falsely humble, arrogant person who lived and believed my own press. As we all know, there are many celebrities, whether in Hollywood, or in the sports arena who are well loved. And though they are well loved by fans and others around them, if we're honest, we'll admit that their character and how they choose to live their lives proves self-love rather than their love for others.

Unfortunately, those of us in the Church are not immune to this hypocritical "love". I personally know people who are very well loved, but they themselves rarely look for opportunities to extend God's love to others (Rom 12:13, Gal 6:10). How does this happen? Well, sometimes it's due to our own insecurities that we befriend people and shower them with "love"—a bribe for friendship. Other times it's due to peer pressure. We feel like we have to "love" someone, do good to them, be seen with them, etc. only because others around us esteem them. We don't love them because we see the life of Christ manifested in their lives, but we "love" them because they are Pastors, Elders, Deacons or have some other title of prominence within the Church and we simply flow with the stream of admirers who don't really know these people, but we all "love" them simply for who we think they are.

But being remembered as someone who loved well...now that says everything about the person, and nothing about the people around them! We can think of many people we've all known personally and from afar who loved others well. And we marvel at how they've done that considering some of the people they love well are people who are quite unlovable by anyone's standards. We've seen the love of Christ in sons, daughters and sons-in-laws as well as daughters-in-laws as they tenderly care for sick and/or aging parents who are bitter, ungrateful, arrogant and abusive in multiple ways. We've seen parents do the same for their wayward children or other relatives or friends who desire the ways of this world rather than God. We've also seen people love well, those who are ungrateful and sometimes deluded into believing they are deserving of love, charity or anything good given to them. They become angry and spiteful when they don't feel they're receiving all the good they intensely feel they deserve. The people who love well, the bitter, self-absorbed, thoughtless, ungrateful and abusive takers of this world, are the people who truly exhibit the love of God (Lk 6:35-36). And it's not by their might that they love so well. It is only by the power of Christ that they do not grow weary, or inconsistent in their sincere and holy love, for the unholy and unlovable (Lk 6:27-31).

It's only by the grace of God any of us are able to love as Christ—to give to others what God says is good and loving, whether or not the recipients love or hate us for it (1 Tim 1:5, 1 Pet 1:22-25). Because though it feels good when others return our love, and is extremely painful when they don't, we know that they are not receiving or rejecting our love. We know that they are receiving or rejecting God's love (Lk 10:16). And this is why we pray and thank God both for the joy of love returned, and the heartache of love rejected. For both results are of the Lord, and His ways are always perfect.

Therefore, I want to be remembered as someone who loved as Christ. Someone who loved others not because they loved me well—if at all. I don't want to be remembered as someone who only "loved" people based on how they made me feel or what they could do for me. I want to be remembered as someone who loved others well because Jesus Christ loved me first and put His Spirit in me. I want to be remembered as someone who's foundation and example for loving others is Christ and not people. If this is truly how I love, then there is nothing people can say or do to make me love them more or love them less. My love for them will not be dependent on them, but on Jesus, who alone is faithful. I want to be remembered as someone who loves because I see all things from God's perspective and no one else's. I want to be remembered as someone who loved others well and gave my life away, keeping nothing for myself; for this is what my awesome Savior has done for me, and has therefore, called and equipped me to as well (Phil 2:17).

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
~John 15:13

I only want my life to be defined by Jesus Christ and Him alone.

What about you? How would you like to be remembered—as someone who was well loved or loved well? 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And WALK IN LOVE, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
~Ephesians 5:1-2



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7 comments:

  1. I am so grateful to be one of the many whom you have loved well for the Lord.  I am even more grateful that through your discipleship and teaching I am learning to be one who truly loves well, not by the standards of the world, but by the truth of the Scriptures.   Thank you for sharing this truth so that we may all be exhorted to be all God purposed in His heart for us to be.

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  2. There's lots to think about here.  The interesting thing about this-
    those who love well are also well loved! It can't help but be returned. 

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  3.  Awww...praise God for His goodness to us sister! Love you Carrie! ♥

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  4. Hey precious sister Vonnie...yes, it could be true, but not always. :) Jesus loved well, and He was hated by the majority and only loved by few. The apostles also had the same experience. :)

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  5. Amen!  I am challenged daily to love others as Christ loves them.   And some days it is definitely a challenge.  Thanks for this great reminder my friend!  Blessings to you!

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  6. This is a topic that I love to think about, about dying and heaven and what influence I have in the world. I hope that my life glorifies God in all aspects. I find much encouragement when I realise how fleeting my life is and I find myself thinking that actually in 200 years time I will be completely and utterly forgotten in this world... this reminds me again that God is the one in control and that it is every  reason to be sold out for His purpose... it actually has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with my Heavenly Father. May He have all the glory!

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  7. Hello there precious sister Amy,

    I am encouraged by your faith, eternal perspective and devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    I'm grateful to the Lord for using you as an instrument of encouragement to me today. Thank you precious sister for offering yourself to our Heavenly Father to His perfect will in all things.

    May our gracious and awesome God bring you rich blessings for the kindness you've shown me today. ♥

    ReplyDelete

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C.T. Studd
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