And have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Jude 22, 23

 

It is easy to think and to act in a superior manner. We say, “I know that what I believe is right, and I reject what others do as wrong.” God has set out His truth, and His Holy Scriptures backs up my understanding of it. This is a position that is somewhat the opposite of the one that continually moves, shifts, and redefines those Godly truths in terms that are comfortable and acceptable in today’s culture. Neither that compromised understanding of God’s righteousness nor this other overly zealous separation from others with its attendant attitude of superiority is how Christ desires for His people to live.

 

Our Lord calls upon us to engage with the people who disagree with our faith in Him. Christ demonstrated in His life and instructs us to love even those who aggressively oppose our beliefs. We are to have mercy on people who do not know Christ, for they are living outside of the blessings and the hope that are gained through that relationship with the Lord. This attitude of mercy should work to slow our natural drive toward judgment; and thus, it prepares our minds and our hearts to listen well so that we can hear their stories and enter into walking through life with them in the manner that Christ does with each of us.

 

There are no promises that any of this will be easy. There will be times when we need to be honest, direct, and even confrontational in the process of living out our faith and in bringing the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into this world. Even when we show great mercy, patience, and care some people will reject our faith in Christ and us. There will be people who will do so in ways that are emotionally or physically painful. Despite the hardships and the rejection that we may encounter, we are called by Christ to continue to follow Him in loving people well while speaking and living out the truth of His righteousness that leads to salvation for the body and the soul.

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If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1: 7

 

Let’s face it; the times that we live in make it hard to remain true to Christ and to God’s truth. Christians who stick to the righteous path as the one that leads us through our day are branded and labeled by many of the loudest voices that surround us. We are said to be divisive and told that we are separatists. They say that we are elitists and that we are unwilling to accept others. If we speak out against the acts and the actions of our government, we are out of touch with reality and we are accused of trying to impose our own values on others, as if that were in some way wrong. Unfortunately, the negative aspects of all of this are true of professing Christians at times.

 

However, we are called upon by God to walk in His light. That changes everything; for, if we are dwelling in the bright illumination of holy truth, we will be grounded in love, grace, mercy, and righteousness. Here, in this place, in the sanctity of our calling in Christ our humanness can cause us to wander slightly from God’s will, but His loving truth will prevent us from deviating too far. In God’s light we will find peace for our souls as the Lord directs us into the fellowship of His body. Christ knows that we need to be joined together with others who know Him. This is where we find strength, encouragement, and loving accountability to the truth. It is with the family of faith at our sides that we can best engage with the beast of death that is sin in our world. These are the people who help us to remain grounded in love while we stay true to our righteous calling.

 

Christ does want us to speak truth into our world. He tells His people to be bold and to not fear. Our lord is with us in and through all, and He informs us that we are to be the voices of true life and the hands of devoted care in a world that is oppressed by sin. We can not allow the harsh words and even the brutal blows that are delivered against us to stop our service of bringing a touch of the eternal into the chambers of death. Christ has cleansed His people of all of our sin, and clean hands and pure hearts are what are required to provide the sort of healing that our world needs. Together, in the fellowship of faith that gathers into the halls of Godly light, we can stand against the anger that evil uses in its attempt to defeat truth.

 

Then Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

John 6: 32

 

A parable for living in our world might go something like this, “Work hard, take care of business, and plan well; then, everything that you wish, want, or desire will be yours for the taking”. This is a description of a world that revolves around self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and those who are strong and confident are held up as examples of how everyone should be. This was true for the wandering Israelites, too, for they looked to Moses to be the leader who knew all of the answers and provided them with whatever they thought that they required.

 

This was a false notion for them, and it is a silly way for us to view life. When they were fed, it wasn’t Moses who provided the food. When they traveled, it wasn’t Moses who set the course; and when they were secure, it certainly wasn’t Moses whose strength and great love brought about that state of being. Even when we use our skills, training, and talent to accomplish the things that we do in this life, these are all gifts from our Creator, for every good and useful aspect of who and what I am has come from God and is empowered by His Spirit. Although God may not provide me with mysterious miracle food in the way that He did for the Israelites, He does fill my life with miracles of provision that are constantly with me.

 

Christ is calling on us to make seeking after God’s will and growing in our trust and reliance on Him our primary daily mission in life. Doing this often involves nothing more than simply opening our eyes and accepting what is right in front of us. God is actively reaching into our world with His care, concern, compassion, and grace. He seeks to bless the days of His people with the deep and unshakable peace and joy that comes only from living in the presence of His righteousness and truth. Then, as we sit at God’s table of blessing and eat from His exquisite feast of life giving bread, we are truly prepared to use all of the gifts and the talents that we possess for God’s glory.