Thursday, July 8, 2010

Points of encouragement to the body

I was sharing these points with some friends of my and as I was writing them, I thought perhaps I needed to share more generally with a wider audience. So I decided to share them here as well.

Points I have been discovering, pondering and have been reminded of during my times of devotion thru the past several weeks. I hope you will join me in my excitement. I hope you will find it encouraging as well.

First: As Christians, we are to set our hearts on things above. So I started thinking. Is it right or wrong to do and participate in earthly things? Of course not. We live here and are to do life here. What I am thinking is that we can bring Christ into everything we do. Now of course I am not talking about sinful acts, just life. I am thinking that every innocent activity on earth we can do it as if we are doing it as a service to the Lord. We can even make the task of cleaning a toilet godly. (No that is not sacrilegious.) We can even encourage others to be a light and still be in the world's activity. So being godly in our activity can make the activity a form of worship to the Lord.

Second: We are called to walk a godly life and to be a light. However, God also enables us to do it. He didn't expect us to do it ourselves. I believe the enabling power comes from our capacity to love one another. It is our love for those around us that compels us to do and to act toward them in a godly, understanding manner. I think we have to pray for God's love toward our neighbors (anyone around us that God placed in our lives).

Third: When we find ourselves with "less than love" for anyone we are doing life with, we need to go to the Father and simply ask for His heart and His love for them. He will be glad to oblige. The best way to go from feeling bad toward someone to having a heart for them is simply to pray for them. Take them before the Father and pray for His blessing on them. (of course we can take that time to tattle on them to the Father, we just can't camp out there) Pray, pray, pray. Once we no longer see them as "men as trees" but as a person with whom we can identify, we will be overwhelmed with love toward them. We will be open to having God's heart toward those around us, even if they have hurt us or those we love.

Fourth: This is the one that overwhelmed me. Are we hating or rejecting the wrong things? Actions of a person and their choices is what we are to reject. We are to love the person even if we do not love what they are doing. We do not have to accept wrong behavior, but we have to hold others accountable for their behavior yet still love them. We tend to put up with bad behavior and withdraw our love for them hoping that we are protecting our hearts. But loving them is what sets our hearts free.
Lastly: We tend to argue over gray areas as the body of Christ when there is a generation that can't even clearly define the black and white yet (right and wrong). We must as a body of believers learn to love and embrace those who cannot clearly discern black and white. It is thru walking with them, they see our lives. They cannot truly observe our lives if we withhold living in front of them because they are not certain what is right and what is wrong. We cannot live at a distance and be a light to them. It is when we are up-close and personal that we begin to truly be a light in a dark world. We must be accepting to those who cannot see clearly the blacks and whites. We never expected our babies to walk at 2 months. We never got upset with our toddlers because they fell while learning to walk. We knew that that was part of it. So we need to have the same patience for others as they are learning to identify black and white. We just live it out in front of them, and teach them as we go by the way we live in front of them. Maybe we shouldn't be so worried about the gray just yet. That will come with time.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" Jesus Christ (Matthew 5.43-45)

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