HOW DO WE PRACTICE THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN OUR CHURCHES?
Last time I wrote about the negative tendencies in the Body of Christ, the dark spots on the bride-dress. We, the children of God are called the Bride and it is written that the Bridegroom, Jesus, will come for the spotless Bride. We have received righteousness because of Jesus and I call the wedding-gown for righteousness.
I believe that we should focus on Jesus in thankfulness for what He has done for us. He has given His life for us. He washed the feet of His disciples, showing us how we could serve each other. We are on earth to serve and not to control each other. I think you should read Matthew 25. Jesus said to His disciples: You gave me food when I was hungry and something to drink when I was thirsty. When I came as aa stranger, you received Me. I was naked and you clothed Me. When I was in prison, you visited Me. The disciples asked Him when they had done that since they could not remember ever doing this. Jesus answered them the following then: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least 0f these My brethren, you did it to Me.” I will also ask you to read Isaiah 58. It describes the fast, the right fast that God wants and it also describes how the Sabbath should be practiced. I quote from verse 6: Is this not the fast tht I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out. Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. You shall cry, and He will say; Here I am.” Read the rest of the chapter as well. You see all the promises connected with the right fast. Many think only on food when we talk about fasting, but God is saying that this is the fast I want. The Lord points to practical deeds.
Love is shown in practical ways.
When I was young I was a member of an American church in Oslo. There I experienced how the member helped each other when somebody was in need. My best friend was in need of a serious operation and when she came home from the hospital, a dinner for four was placed outside their door at four o’clock every day for three weeks. A woman lost her husband and she had young children. The entire congregation was there to support her. Some people slept there at night, others helped with the children and others helped with practical tasks. It is not enough to say: I will pray for you. In America the neighbors will come to your door when you are new in a neighborhood. When I and my two daughters moved from Norway to Sweden, nobody came to greet us or offered their help. There were many Christians living there knowing that we came for their Bible-school, but only one nodded his head as a greeting. We needed tools for installing things in our house and it would also be nice for an offer for help or a cup of coffee. I would have liked somebody with me to the shops since everything had another word. I have forgiven my neighbors and I have wonderful Swedish friends today.
These friends helped me when I got sick. I have also seen people giving money to people in need and I have also given where there is a need. When I went on mission trips, people have encouraged me spiritually as well as economically. When my car has been broken, people have offered to drive me and I do the same to others. After corona I fell asleep without any warning and a person offered to drive me quite far. I thank God for loving sisters and brothers.
How do you react when you see a sister and a brother live in sin? Do you think it is loving to close your eyes? I do not believe that it is so, but those cases need a lot of wisdom and love. Who is supposed to say something? When should one say something and what should one say? If you talk to the person driven by religious spirits, I can assure you a negative result. Be clear and call sin for sin, but ask how you can help the person. Maybe you yourself have been in a similar situation and can share your own experiences. None of us has lived a sinless life. You must assure the person about your good intensions. Ask the Lord for a key into the person’s life. Maybe you should bring a flower or another gift.
What is happening when a newly saved is supposed to witness or give a devotion? Do you criticize them or do you encourage them? Please do not do as I did when I was young. My friend asked me what she should say and do and I answered that it would come to her when she opened her mouth. Nothing came and it wasn’t nice for her nor for us.
There is a lot of gossip in the Body of Christ. Do not participate in that. If you hear something negative about another person, be quick to say that you should pray. Do not talk to others about it. You will never know the details of another person’s life and the Bible says that we should not judge.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!