Monday, November 19, 2012
Love the Christian, Love the World
So for those of you that have read my last few posts, I've mentioned how I'm currently reading through the Bible. And if you follow me on instagram (thistleashd) you definitely know, since I post pictures every time I start a new book. It's pretty encouraging for myself to do that, sorry if they aren't interesting to you :) I'm loving reading through the Bible for about 84,000 reasons. I've learned so much. My current goal is to blog about whatever book I just finished- the different things that stuck out to me. Hopefully this will get me to actually blog more.
1:4- We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints... Being at this point in the Bible, I've read several of Paul's letters. Without fail he consistently admonishes, encourages, commends the churches for their love of all saints. That means their love to other Christians. Now I am in no way saying we are not supposed to love non Christians with what I'm about to say. However, how often are we really evaluating ourselves or trying to grow in our love of other Christians? Yet, that is solely what Paul stresses. Honestly, at this point, Paul has not stressed love of the poor at all. He stresses sharing the gospel, but not "loving" them in our post modern, tolerance based understanding of it. He stresses loving our church members. And really, with good reason. The church has a terrible reputation for not loving each other. In my own experience, I have cried many tears over feeling like I'm less accepted within churches simply because I don't come off as quite as conservative as other Christians. There is nothing more hurtful than having the body of Christ reject you because you don't fit their mold. We are so good at trying so hard to love the people outside of the church who are different, we forget that God has called a variety of people to be a part of his body. Or that the people like myself who appear more edgy and less conservative have a vital role to play within evangelism. There are a whole lot of people in this world I can reach better than Suzy Christian in her cardigan. And there are a whole lot of people that Suzy Christian can reach better than me. We are unified because of our faith. We need to love Christians for their faith- not how much they act like us.
4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone... I surrounded these verses with stars. If the 1:4 is what directs our love for other Christians, these verses direct our love for non Christians. How do we truly love the lost? We are wise in our actions. We make the most of the opportunity. I don't think that this means we have to be super legalistic and avoid certain things so we look holy. Rather, wherever you go and whatever you do, you should use that as an opportunity to share the gospel. Being a good friend is not sharing the gospel. The gospel is that we are lost, beyond our ability to save ourselves, and separated from God who is holy. God in his grace sent his Son to cover our sins with his death. We are given the opportunity to know God deeply and enter his presence and be freed from sin. So if I am at happy hour with the non Christian, my job is to allow my love and gratitude for Christ to flow freely as I talk. It really should be logical. My day is full of the grace of God. He sustains me during stress. He encourages me when I'm overwhelmed. He is so much a part of my day. How can I share my day with a friend and NoT share what the gospel has meant for me that day? How can I not acknowledge that it's the continual saving grace over my life that makes each day possible? My conversation should be seasoned with grace, because my life is seasoned with grace. I get asked all the time how I manage to do what I do as a single mom. The answer is the gospel. God's grace comes in to my life and gives me the strength to do what I could not do on my own. The salt is the acknowledging the gospel truth. Not shying away from the intensity that a Christian's life should be. Salt goes through food and enhances everything. Christ is in my life and enhances my everything. The gospel should be the Christian's life. In Christ, we live the day to day, we move from seemingly ordinary event to ordinary event, we ourselves are centered in Christ. If we are recognizing the way the gospel is our every second of every day, our interaction is all Christ, all gospel, all true love for the world.
What do you think? How do you feel you should interact with the Christian and the non Christian?