I’m enjoying Brennan Manning’s audio book Abba’s Child. Besides helping us understand the security we have in being Abba’s child, he challenges us to live like Christ. I found one story especially poignant.
Manning and his wife were strolling together when a young woman carrying flowers approached them.
“Are you a follower of Sun Myung Moon?” He asked her.
She was. Knowing she was selling flowers to support a cult with false teaching, Manning said, “Your zeal for what you believe puts many Christians to shame.”
“Are you a Christian?” the young woman asked.
“Yes, we are,” he answered.
The woman dropped her head. When she finally looked at him, tears streaked her young face. “You are the first Christians who’ve spoken kindly to me. Most yell at me. One woman hit me over the head with her Bible.”
How tragic, especially since Jesus said the world would know we are Christians by our love. If that is how we treat those we meet in the world is it any wonder they are not interested in our Jesus?
At a recent event, Marty Goetz echoed this pattern. During his concert, he raised a question that has puzzled me. “Have you ever wondered why Jews are usually politically liberal since conservatives traditionally support Israel and Judeo-Christian values?
Marty is a messianic Jew, so he understands how Jews think. Born and raised an orthodox Jew, he naturally ran from Jesus. But one night, Jesus captured his heart. He now uses his music to tell of Him.
Marty continued, “They are afraid of Christians because of how Christians have historically mistreated Jews.”
I hope these examples disturb you as they do me. How could this happen? What can we as Christ’s ambassadors do to change this?
(Please excuse the wacky formatting. It won’t cooperate!)
- Not everyone who wears the tag “Christian” knows Jesus.
- Love—not dynamic ministries or biblical knowledge—is the hallmark of true faith in Jesus. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8, NIV).
- “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
- True believers can operate out of the flesh instead of from the Spirit.
- A sign of this is when we care more about being right than being loving. “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: … 20 hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions…22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love,” (Gal. 5:19-22, NIV).
- “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ…3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, NIV).
- The god of this world spins lies.
- “4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NIV). Larry and I heard David Jeremiah speak this week in Raleigh. He said the media showed up the morning after the Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriage to ask what he thought. He said, “You’ve known me for a long time. You know what I believe. But I’d rather be known for what I’m for, not what I’m against.” He went on to talk about the blessing his wife and family were to him. The evening news wrongly portrayed him as being mean-spirited.
Jesus said that what we do to the “least of these” we do to Him. Who are your “least of these”? Manning says, “The way we treat them, we treat Him.”
May they know we are Christians by our love.
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Debbie W. Wilson
Sometimes I link to the following great sites: #TestimonyTuesday, #Titus2Tuesday, #IntentialTuesday, #TuesTalk, #Tell it to me Tuesdays, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #LivefreeThursday, #WordswithWinter, #Grace and Truth