I have seen, heard, or read all of yesterday’s examples (and more actually). It never ceases to amaze me that Christians, who have been set free from their guilt and shame, still revert back to this method of living. We are not to live in guilt, but in the peace of the Spirit knowing that our King Jesus has given us all we need for a life of godliness (2 Pt. 1.3).
How about Jesus?
So how do we avoid guilt in our message? Observe the contrasts to the above statements:
- Jesus said to them… “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28.19-20)
- Christ gave, and so compels us to: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8.9)
- We should not think of ourselves as better than others, so why not provide rides to the needy? Let’s be servants: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…” (Phil. 2.3-7)
- Don’t worry about offending others or bringing shame, be concerned with causing others to stumble: But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. “… And so by your knowledge this weak person isdestroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Cor. 8.9-13)
- True love looks out for the deep needs of others by laying down one’s life and desires: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 Jn. 3.16-18)
With the cross and resurrection as our motivation, let us live well and love others as Christ did. He is our joy.