Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vessel of Love

Being a Christian is so much more than regurgitation of scripture and saying all the right things. It is more than reading meditations, prayers and interpretations written by someone else. It is a deep and abiding personal relationship with your Lord.

I'm not saying that we cannot be touched by the words of someone else. When I write about discoveries of faith, I want people to read it and to perhaps be touched by it, so it stands to reason that most people who write about Christianity, and the scriptural discoveries they've made, want others to read their offerings and feel touched. Such writings should be used as a catalyst for further study, prayer and meditation, not as a substitute for delving into the scriptures ourselves. That is how we grow in our relationship with the Lord.

We have to take what we learn and turn it into action. People around us can smell a Scriptural Christian from a mile away. What I mean by "Scriptural Christian" is a person who has all the makings of a Christian, according to scripture, they adhere strictly to the laws and admonitions of the bible, they even have a heart for God. The problem is they don't always have a heart for God's people.

Jesus clearly asked us to feed his sheep (John 2:15-17). In following Him, it is not enough to love God. Jesus could see in his disciples a tendency to simply love Him without any reach into the world, so he made it plain to them (and to us by extension) that in order for our love for Him to manifest itself, we have to feed his sheep.

In my opinion, loving while in disapproval mode is not real love. It is not enough to say 'I love you even though I disapprove of your particular sin'. We are all sinners, living in sin. Simply giving lip service to the love of God while withholding a portion of ourselves in disapproval in not Agape Love, which is the love that Jesus taught. Agape love is an unselfish love, without conditions. The bible tells us that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:7-8); this is how he showed his love for all people.

Admittedly, this is hard to do. We all have notions, preconceived or otherwise, of what constitutes sin, so in our minds we rank sin. It often feels vindicating to say 'well I may be a glutton, but at least I am not a homosexual' or 'well, I may have lied today but at least I am not a prostitute' (insert your own sin with any sin which you find more repugnant). It is easy to point out that God's word is clear on the sins of another, all the while turning a blind eye to things that we ourselves do, you know the ones, the 'smaller' sins. There is no such thing as a smaller sin in the eyes of God. I think this is why it is so hard to be Christ-like. We have to see everyone, and the sin of everyone, including ourselves along with those horrible, rotten people, as equal.

God pricked my heart on this matter a long while ago. He placed people in my path whom I was taught in my religious upbringing to look at with disdain. I was, in different situations, forced to get to know such people. I was obliged to see that they were good people, with hearts and souls just like mine. How freeing it was for me to finally see 'these people' through the eyes of God. I no longer had to grimly tolerate them - I could open up and LOVE them, just like Jesus did. Hallelujah!

I asked God then, and it is my continued prayer, to use me. I want to be His light in the world, to show EVERYONE who crosses my path the true love of Christ. I don't set myself apart from other Christians, there are many who are also on the same mission as I, who choose their own way to go about spreading Christ's love. I don't elevate myself in any way. I only humbly ask, that in my own small way, I would be His vessel of love.