Tuesday, June 6, 2017

WHAT REALLY MATTERS


Recently the Holy Spirit led me to read the book of 1 John. My take is that God was and is trying to communicate Christ is the ultimate example of brotherly love that we should be practicing daily. In addition, the significance of loving your brothers and sisters in Christ and reaching out to the world is eternal. 

John warns the believer that the world system is a bunch of trappings meant to keep us slave to the temporal. God says through John - 
  • "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
Yet, the people of the world are who Christians are called to reach out to. Remember, every Christian was slave to the world and it's trappings before accepting Christ's victory over the world (John 16:33). Another reason Jesus came was to provide us life and life to the full (John 10:10). Jesus, in His prayer to Father God, declares about believers that we are not of this world as He is not, even though we are in it (John 17:16). This begs the question - How do we (Christians) reach the world when we are not of it anymore? 

How do you reach out to someone who does not quite grasp your changed language? John proclaims this dilemma - 
  • "They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world and the world listens to them. We are from God and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood." (1 John 4:5-6)
The Christian still has to speak to get the witnessing ball rolling. However, the words we choose should be seasoned with love and tenderness. Peter has one of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible and it pertains to this - 
  • "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Did you notice the two ingredients that must be mixed in to our speech, especially our Testimony? Gentleness and Respect. If you keep these two ingredients consistent in your speech, those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ will be ashamed of their slander.

Behavior, which is also mentioned alongside speech in reaching the world (your good behavior in Christ), is the action part of the equation. I can speak life-transforming truths to the world until I am blue in the face, but until it is accompanied and/or supported by actions, I am just providing good information that could easily be forgotten. 

Just as faith and actions must work together to justify the faith of a believer (James 2:14-26), so our language and behavior should be aligned also. They both must agree with our decision to follow Christ Jesus and His ways. Plus, they must compliment each other. Have you heard of the phrase "actions speak louder than words"? "Sources say that this expression dates back as far as 1628. It was first used in its current form in the USA by Abraham Lincoln in 1856: 'Actions speak louder than words' is the maxim; and, if true, the South now distinctly says to the North, 'Give us the measures, you take the men.' [Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume II"(https://www.bookbrowse.com/expressions/detail/index.cfm/expression_number/151/actions-speak-louder-than-words)
Actions may speak louder than words, but they must agree with what was spoken in the beginning. If this fails, the authenticity of the person falters and we question if they knew What Really Matters.