Everything a Jesus follower does is done as part of His family. Wherever we go, whether work, school, shopping, playing sport – we're ambassadors. We're representatives – first of Christ, and as a natural extension, of His body. And haven't we, as the church, really messed up in big ways over the centuries... It's uncomfortable to acknowledge, but it's the truth.
I'd propose that our errors have come from a lack of love. Of truly Christlike love. Jesus was clear, that his kind of love was meant to be practised within the church. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
This command that Jesus gives simply cannot be obeyed unless you are hanging out with God's family. We can't love one another unless we're together! That doesn't mean it's not painful at times, and extremely challenging. Jesus experienced betrayal, misunderstanding, people trying to use him, and yet he continued to love those God had given him. We are called to take up our cross and follow him. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
The hard work; the spiritual warfare we are called to engage in is to love God's people like Jesus does. That means laying our life down to serve one another. That means willingly giving of ourselves, to the undeserving, without expecting a favour in return. It means surrendering our wants and needs to our (awesome, super-gracious, abundantly giving, outrageously loving) Father, and trusting Him to provide everything we need.
- Melinda Medvedsky-
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