Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Heart for People

We Skyped with our missionary children and grandchildren Friday night our time (breakfast time for them). We talked about many things, one of them being their new church plant. While eating her pancakes, Rebekah (6) shared that she wanted to help the other children at the new church.

I said, "Wonderful! God's given you a caring heart for people."

A puzzled expression crossed her face. "I'm a Christian," she said. "Why wouldn't I have a heart for people?"

Indeed. Good question, Rebekah. A compelling one.

One that cuts right to the quick. And to the very heart of Christianity.

If we bear Christ's name, should we not also share His love with those around us?

Romans 12:9-21 details what Christian behavior toward others looks like. May I encourage you to read this practical passage? The verses fall on the heels of Paul's discussion about spiritual gifts. This comes as no surprise. The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been entrusted to us so that we can effectively reach out to others. The exercise of our gifts is love in action.
 
Godly devotion, diligence, service, perseverance, joy, prayer, contribution, hospitality, humility, respect, forgiveness, and victory are key components—the very essence of Christian living.

Perhaps it's time we asked ourselves Rebekah's challenging question, "I'm a Christian, why wouldn't I have a heart for people?"

Let's be courageous! Ask the Holy Spirit to peel back the layers of our hearts (through all the rationalizations, defensiveness, woundedness, worldliness, negative thoughts, pride, anger, and fear) and shine His searchlight in the deep places. Then act on what He reveals. We may need to confess specific sin. Sin in our lives blocks our ability to love and reach out to others.

Sin falls into two categories:

1.
Sins of commission: When we do what is contrary to God's Word/sins that violate God's Law (which is primarily God's Law of Love). This type of sin can take many forms in thought or deed. We lash out in anger; we take revenge; we succumb to a bad habit or addictive behavior; we lust, lie, or steal from our employer. Sometimes, we're aware of our offense; other times we're clueless. But in every case, our sin eventually affects not only ourselves but others around us.

2.
Sins of omission: When we don't do what God's Law of Love asks us to do. Romans 12:9-21 is a good place to start if you wonder what God wants you to do as a Christian.

Every day, we need to confess the sins on the "front of us" (the sins we are aware of) and the sins on the "back of us" (the sins we're not aware of).

When we're honest with ourselves and with God about our sin, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Then we are in a position of godly strength to fulfill Romans 12:9-21.

We can join Rebekah in saying, "I'm a Christian. Why wouldn't I have a heart for people?"

~~

Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com, www.guardyourmarriage.com.



1 comment:

chaplaindebbie said...

Wow...like a smack across the back of my head! Excellent post, Eileen! I truly needed to read this. I've been struggling with an issue lately; with a certain person. It is so hard to love some people, but like your granddaughter said "I'm a Christian," "Why wouldn't I have a heart for people?"
I will bring this person before God and ask for His guidance.
Hugs and God bless.