Saturday, January 22, 2011

HELPING OTHERS SPIRITUALLY

Not until we are striving to live in the presence of God can we be any help to others on the spiritual road. It's hard to be on the wrong road and convince others that the other road is the right one. Children rebel from parents because of this 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude. The so-called believer is in rebellion to God and the children know it. God is right here, close to us, we just need the faith to acknowledge it. Then we can help others.

Jesus said, "take the mote out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Mt. 7). Paul pointed to this type of hypocrisy where brothers see the faults in others, but not in themselves. "3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?" (Rom. 2:3). This kind of self-righteousness is poisonous and toxic for doing anything good. If we want to bring people to God, it must be apparent that we have been with God.

Peter writes, "14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame." (1 Pt 3:14-16) A person who living a holy life will be visible to others. In some places in the world visibility could be punished by God-hating men. But there's no option to live some other way. To know God is to love Him. And to love Him is to obey Him . And to obey Him is to make oneself quite peculiar to the world. But that's what we are called to be. Christians are "strangers and aliens" in this world (1 Pt. 2:9ff).

Paul described the early church by the things it was "devoted" to. Acts 2 says, "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). This kind of devotion supersedes every unholy thing in one's previously unholy life. Devotion to God's Word, praying, breaking bread in worship, and fellowship describes life for the saints of God. These are the characteristics which the church today strives to imitate. And doing so has a positive effect that the world begins to see what it means to be Christian. Christian is a blessed life, so abundant in purpose and tangible things like peace and joy, that men find it attractive to everything else.

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