Bible Studies for Life
Every now and then there is a book that truly captivates and captures your full attention. So much so that you find yourself recommending this book to everyone you know, quoting incredible lines out of this book, and rereading it for greater depth and detail. Outside of the Bible, there are a handful of books that personally fit into this category in my life. One of these is entitled “Who Is Holding Your Ladder?” by Dr. Sam Chand.
In this book Dr. Chand challenges the reader to do some analysis and identify the people who support you or “hold your ladder.” Dr. Chand’s book is a great resource because it is filled with tons of wisdom, knowledge, and insight from cover to cover. However, by the time the reader gets to the end of the book, Dr. Chand shifts the initial focus by raising a salient question we all should consider in our relationships, partnerships, and friendships. The significant question that Dr. Chand raises is, “Whose ladder are you holding?”
This question is so powerful because it encourages all of us to do some introspection regarding our own level of support, sacrifice, and service to others. I mention this book because it helps us unveil the depth of the relationships that we are a part of, and it pushes us to uncover the unspoked motivations that shape these relationships.
When we consider the ministry of Jesus Christ, we see many examples of how He supported or “held the ladders” of many people in their darkest hours. In fact, Jesus was pretty good at this! To this end, Jesus’ motivation for supporting, sacrificing, and serving others exuded from His love for God and humanity.
In fact, some of the biblical examples of Jesus holding the ladder of others include: the woman at the well, the ten lepers, the blind man, and Lazarus. It is the hope that we would learn from Jesus’ historical acts of love and demonstrate them even today.
In a time whereby so many people are dealing with the realities of COVID confinement and pandemic parameters, now is the perfect time to show the love of Christ. In a time when people are dealing with stress, anxiety, trauma, shock, pain, loss, bereavement, crisis, isolation, loneliness, fear, nervousness, apprehension, and angst, now is the perfect time to show the love of God.
In I Corinthians 15:9-14, we see that all our “ladders” and lives are bolstered and held up by Jesus Christ. However, we also learn that Christ’s ladder is buttressed and propped up by God the Father. Hence, the commonality found in both relationships is the cyclical and unbreakable denominator “love.” In short, LOVE is always the difference maker!
Due to the fact that we live in a time whereby people have different understanding of the word “love,” I want to make sure we are clear that the kind of love being referenced in I Corinthians 15 is an “unconditional love” that is identified as “agape” in Greek.
At the time the New Testament was written, there were several words, understandings, and meanings for “love” in the Greek language. “Philos” meant a “brotherly type of love.” “Eros” meant a “romantic type of love.” “Storgae” meant a “familial type of love.” However, this “Agape” or unconditional love Jesus speaks of is a “godly love” that supersedes and surpasses them all!
Today and over the next week, I invite you to delve deeper into the importance and significance of verses 9-14 in I Corinthians 15. As you examine and exegete these verses, I challenge you to pay attention to how Jesus connects the “celestial” with the “anthropological” when it comes to “agape love.” In addition, concentrate on how Jesus shows His love connection to God, His love connection to humanity, and our expected love connection to our fellow brothers and sisters. You will find that Jesus explains that the reciprocity, mutuality, parallels, correlations, and similarities in our relationship with God and others ought to be agape love.
To this end, I leave you with several timeless truths and practical steps to help you be the loving Christian disciple that Christ desires you to be.
1. FIND peace in knowing God the Father and Christ his Son loves you.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (v.9)
2. FOLLOW the commands of Christ to remain in Jesus’ pure love.
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (v.10)
3. FULLY embrace the perfect joy that only Jesus can give.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (v.11)
4. FOCUS on loving others just as Christ loved you.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (v.12)
5. FEARLESSLY sacrifice for friends and strangers like Jesus did.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (v.13)
6. FAITHFULLY live out Christ’s commands and be called His friend.
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” (v.14)