09 Jan a new kind of stand
We are living in a time of unrest and turmoil. There is a cultural anxiety creating chaos, suspicion and division everywhere we turn. Political discussions have turned into shouting matches on social media. Every segment of our society has become polarized to the point where civility seems nowhere to be found.
But where is the Church today? I’m not talking about your local congregation or your denomination. Where is the Body of Christ? Where are the followers of Jesus? The Church belongs to God and it is alive, but perhaps we have lost our way. Maybe we are drifting away from our call to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). Have we forgotten Jesus’ two most important commandments—to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40)?
We cherish the grace God has extended to us. Are we withholding that same grace from those we disagree with? Isn’t God sovereign? Do we really believe we are destined to become victims of a healthcare directive, political crisis or economic trend we are opposed to? No, we are not doomed if those outcomes are opposed to our convictions or preferences.
I’m calling myself and you to take a long look in the mirror and be sure that there is a difference in the way we are thinking and relating to those who don’t know Christ—-or with fellow Christians who see things differently than we do. Brothers and sisters, it is time to take a stand—-above debates and speeches—-something more subtle, more powerful. Read Galatians 5:13-26.
In this passage, Paul cast a vision of how Christ’s kingdom should be authenticated in the world. We are called to be living in a radical way that can only be generated and sustained by the Spirit of God. The lifestyle described in this passage isn’t altered by social chaos, cultural division, or even pandemics.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5: 22-23, NLT
Let’s spend our greatest energy living out of the distinctive traits that God is producing in us. The fruit of the Spirit is not produced by doing better or trying harder, but emerges and develops as we follow Christ alone and surrender to his work in our souls. You may call me naïve or out of touch, but I really believe what the marketplace needs most right now is people who exhibit God\’s love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Serving Him with you in the marketplace,
Thank You Lord, for reminding me this morning that I am Yours and that you are changing my heart through Your grace. You have called me to live a different kind of life, regardless of the events going on around me. A life marked by a peace in the midst of turmoil. One that includes an inner joy even when sorrow is everywhere I turn. Father, keep us from just blending into the culture, so that there is no recognizable difference between us and those who don’t yet know you. Empower us to affect it like salt and light do—among so many who are wondering who and what they can count on. Amen.
“A Christian needs to walk in peace, so no matter what happens they will be able to bear witness to a watching world.” Henry Blackaby
ADDITIONAL REFLECTIONS: Stirred Not Shaken