Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How a Christian Is To Be Known

Jesus told us “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 USC) But we are not so accepting of this Word if we are still allowing our fear to control us; if we will insist in remaining in our comfortable clicks.
A Christian may know they are just who they are, not by how others accept them, but by how accepting they are of others. This is a very active Word that Jesus gives.
Love can never be reduced as a passively insipid thing. That is blasphemy of love.
“Love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than feeling,” says R.C. Sproul.
And especially in the realms of Christian love – kindly human affection of friendliness and openness for one another – love takes us to levels over and above our fears.
But there is a battle that must be overcome first. That battle is the fear that presents as a false confidence which chooses to remain safe and exclude the outlier. This is the very antithesis of Christian love, and we might either repent of such a base sin or forever remain out of sync with the Holy Spirit who would instruct us otherwise.
Christians are to be lovers of all persons, most particularly their own kin. This is the most fundamental test of our obedient submission to the Lord.
If we would willingly love him who first loved us, we would reach in to another’s life and give them the love they deserve.
If we resist this love that so beckons us, and remain in our stubbornness, we should expect the Holy Spirit to abide in us less and less. He is still there, just dormant in Presence.
It really is a very urgent thing: love our brother and sister like God does, right now.
No person should feel excluded in Christian fellowship because of exclusion for exclusion’s sake; indeed, the place where God’s people gather is welcome ground – a sanctuary – for all who need it.
***
The test of Christian character is how we love the outlier. That person who feels least accepted ought to be loved more than they expect. That person who is least confident ought to be encouraged and built up. That person who has least to say ought to be given the opportunity, first, to make their contribution. And our obligation of love is to listen.
We become Christ-in-us, by the Holy Spirit, when we love the ‘unlovely’, when love overcomes the fear to remain comfortable.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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