Tag Archive | Christian

Love is greater than moral conscience

This post may seem out of character for me.  There are items in the news which I see differently from some of my conservative and Christian counterparts.  Usually I abstain from sharing my feelings on social or public media because, honestly, doing so rarely changes anything.  And that might be the case now, too, but I cannot keep silent this time.

In increasing numbers, Christian behaviour is at the forefront in the media, and to put it mildly, it is not perceived as loving. I am deeply grieved by how the “moral conscience” of some are driving people away from Christ, rather than drawing them near.

Christians—your actions are speaking louder than Jesus’ words.  How can those outside of Christ know his love if we refuse to serve them, stubbornly judge, or by our deeds, reject them?

Jesus called us to LOVE, His message was LOVE, and His ministry was and ever is LOVE.  I’m not going all new-age on you here. It’s just what Jesus said:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:45-47

Christians are called to live above the law, not be excused by it Jesus said the answer to the law is fulfilled in this:

“Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

The apostle Paul called love, “the more excellent way.”

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He went on to say,

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  1 Cor. 13:1-2

In a similar vein, the apostle James said we can talk about our faith until we’re blue in the face (well, not in those words), but if we don’t display loving actions, our faith will be empty, and our message, void:

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 3:15-17

Dear Christians, our faith is not expressed through anchoring our behaviours onto our “moral conscience”; rather, it is to be set into motion through loving deeds, untiring grace, relentless mercy, kindness, compassion, and, above all, humility!  Remember:

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or judgement. We need to humbly learn from our Lord who said that true greatness in God’s kingdom, is being a servant to all.

In the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, two pious men walked past a man beat up by robbers.  A third man stopped and helped him in his need, a helper from a rejected culture, and someone that, under normal conditions, would never be regarded as a friend.  How does the story go??

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Through love and mercy, we reflect God’s character, the very light and life of Christ:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

That’s something legalism, rejection, and judgement can never do.

Believers, humbly live above the law, by going out of your way to show EVERYONE the same mercy, grace, and love that you have received.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  I John 4:9-11

Check out these two articles with similar sentiments, only better expressed:

Don’t Be Defined by What You’re Against

Bake for them Two

Artist and Missionary: Lilias Trotter

Lilias Trotter

1853-1928

My sister-in-law, Jenny, recently introduced me to the works and inspiration of Lilias Trotter.  It’s amazing that such a godly woman, artist, writer and devout missionary has escaped the notice and glory given to many other Christian pioneers and workers.

Publisher’s Weekly notes that, “sadly, the name of Lilias Trotter is no longer remembered by many people, except those 19th-century art experts who recall her as the painter who caused art critic John Ruskin to rhapsodically change his mind about the ability of women to be artists. Though all but forgotten now as an artist, Trotter [1853-1928] is venerated as a pioneering Christian missionary—she founded and funded a mission in North Africa where she served for nearly 40 years.

What the article doesn’t say, is just how dedicated Ms. Trotter was to the Lord.  The reason she may be “forgotten as an artist,” was the result of a life-changing, deliberate decision she made while under the tutelage of John Ruskin.  She said, “I see as clear as daylight now I cannot give myself to painting in the way he (John Ruskin) means and continue ‘to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.’” (1)

Some of Lilias’ exquisite paintings, coupled with her poignant writings and Scriptures, are recorded in A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter, by Miriam Huffman Rockness.  Ms. Rockness also wrote A Passion for the Impossible, an acclaimed biography of this 19th century missionary and artist.  From the bibliography of the former, we find a literal legacy of journals, booklets, stories and parables all written by Lilias Trotter.   A remote few of these remain in print.

From her pen of long ago, comes meditations worthy of discovery today :

Act or Process?

is it an act, or a gradual process, this “putting off the old man”?  It is both.  It  is a resolve taken once for all, but carried out in detail day by day.  From the first hour that the layer of separation begins to form in the leaf-stalk, the leaf’s fate is sealed:  there is never a moment’s reversal of the decision.  Each day that follows is a steady carrying out of the plant purpose: “this old leaf shall die, and the new leaf shall live.”  So with your soul.  Come to the decision once for all: “Every known sin shall go–if there is a deliverance to be had, I will have it.”  Put the Cross of Christ, in its mysterious delivering power, irrevocably between you and sinning, and hold on there.  That is your part, and you must do it.”

The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6:10-11 (1)

 

(1)  A Blossom in the Desert, compiled and ed. by Miriam Huffman Rockness, pg 106.  Discovery House Publishers (Grand Rapids, MI). 2007.