Friday, April 11, 2014

Confession #64 - I'm in a Relationship

With the atrocities that our world is facing, now more than ever people need to know Jesus.  But so many times we are too busy alienating ourselves from those who need Christ the most.  We get caught up in debates and political forums where defending our beliefs becomes more important than introducing people to Christ.  We want to stand up for the unjust treatment of our fellow believers, and take stands against the lies the world peddles against the word of God, and rightfully so, but on many occasions our approach can cause people to run the other way.  Consequently, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of unbelievers and keeping them far away from our "religion".  They ask us not to wave it in their faces and shove it down their throats.

Sisters you and I both know that we don't have religion, we have a relationship.  As Christians we have all fallen in love with Jesus Christ.  Naturally, when you're in love with someone, you want to shout it from the rooftops.  You want to change your relationship status and post pictures of this person on your Facebook page.  You want to tweet about them you want to tell all your friends about them, you want everyone to know that you have found not only someone to love, but someone who loves you.  It's interesting to me that when we fall in love, we don't go around using our loved one as our excuse to criticize everyone else's relationships.  We don't tell everyone they way they need to be living their lives, we don't say well, my boyfriend says Thou shall not eat chocolate to people we know are chocoholics.

Sadly, many times Christians, whether they are well intentioned or not, tend to use their relationship with Jesus Christ as a platform for righteous indignation towards other's sin. Personally, I don't believe God intended for us to become finger-pointing crusaders telling them about their sin.  There are quite a few verses in the bible about this, for example  John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Luke 6:41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

It is amazing how love changes everything.  I have a friend who I've been so blessed to witness her walk with the Lord.  This woman came to my bible study barley having read a verse from the bible.  I've seen her walk through anger and rejection from her past.  I've seen her walk through difficulties in her marriage and struggles in her parenting.  I watched as God has transformed her into this amazing woman of God, who has chosen love as her guide.  This woman is currently facing some challenging issues with an ungodly and downright evil neighbor who is hell bent on making her family's lives miserable.  Yesterday, she told me that her approach is to just sit back and watch God take care of it.  WOW!  I remember a time when that would have been the polar opposite of what she would have said and done.  When she would have taken every opportunity to fight back and get in the face of someone like this.  And now Jesus has changed that.  I am so excited and proud to see what the Lord is doing in her life.  What a privilege it is to watch your Christian babies growing up!
This has happened because she has grown in her relationship with Jesus and because He used people in her life to teach her by example what it means to be a Child of God. God sent people who chose to teach her what it means to walk in love.

It is our sin that created the need for our Savior Jesus Christ to come to earth, suffer and die a horrible death so that we can live eternally.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  John 3:16-17.  Many of us tend to focus on verse 16 and forget verse 17, God loved us so much that he died for us; He didn't come to judge us or punish us for our sin, he came to set us free from it.  Yes one day we will all face judgement, but that wasn't the purpose of Christ's sacrifice, the purpose was so that when we do face judgement our sins will be covered by the atonement Jesus made for us.  Therefore, unless we are bringing the message of love then whatever we say about others sins are just like a "resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."  1 Corinthians 13:1.  Basically a noise no one wants to listen to.

Least we forget that we are all "dirty christian women", continual sinners who are washed in the blood of Christ.  Perhaps rather than defending our beliefs and getting caught up in political forums we need to allow our actions speak to those we are hoping to win to Christ and set an example to younger Christians.  Show them love and become the hands and feet of Christ rather than the mouthpiece of righteous indignation.

Go out of your way to Love rather than criticize.  Instead of pointing out what the Bible calls sin, show them what the Bible calls love.  Show them your relationship with Jesus and not your religion because the Bible instructs us to hate the sin, but love the sinner.  Jude 1: 20-23 "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."

We are to hate the stains of the corrupted flesh; despise the soiled or "dirtiness" of wicked sin.  But we not to hate the sinner, rather we are called to show mercy and save people from the fires of hell and we can only do this by remaining in God's love.  That's showing His love and putting it on display for others to see it.  Love is a powerful thing and we must let love fight the battle against sin to win the hearts of people to Christ and teach younger Christians how to grow in the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord that you chose me to be in a relationship with.  I pray Lord that whenever I am tempted to be a defender of the faith that I remember to show your love, your grace and your mercy to those who are headed to the fire.  Help me to snatch as many souls from it as possible.  Allow my actions of Love to speak volumes over what I may say about you and your word.  Let not my religion show but may my relationship with you be on display for all to see.  And Dear Lord for my fellow "dirty christian women" have them do the same and be the hands and feet of Jesus.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN
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