Love, not Hate!

In Romans 2, Paul is writing to church folk who were looking down on and condemning non church folk. Right in the middle of the chapter, he wrote:

No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.” (Romans 2:24, NLT)

Ouch!

This is quoting Isaiah 52:5 letting the Israelites know they were not living up to their calling and as a result, the surrounding nations were getting a false picture of God.

It was now being applied to mainly Jewish believers in the early Christian Church who were misrepresenting the Gospel.

And, unfortunately, it applies to a large part of the American Christian Church.

Right now, Christianity is not very popular and we like to feel persecuted because of it. However, it’s not really persecution when we’ve brought so much of it on ourselves through our un-Christian words and actions – through the way we have misrepresented God.

God didn’t call us to judge the world and tell it how bad it is. We haven’t been asked to hold non-believers to our “Christian” standards. We have never been admonished to take control of the government so we can pass laws that are favorable to us, but limit the freedoms of many others.

What we have been told is to love and serve others the way Jesus did (John 13:34-35). And according to Philippians 2:3-8, this means voluntarily giving up our rights for the good of others, not fighting to get what we think we deserve.

If we’re going to take on the name Christian – which means “Christ follower”, we should be following in His footsteps.

I know this is not natural to us. This only happens as we come to God and ask Him to fulfill His promise to us, where He said:

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NLT)

This thought comes from this week’s assignment.
To download the assignment, click here.