40 Days of Community #5: Because We’re a Family

This new series aligns with the 40 Days of Community program which Clayton Church is pursuing as a church-wide initiative.

The topic for today is that we are compelled to love God’s family because it shows and demonstrates that we are saved. Today’s point to ponder is that “loving other believers is evidence that we belong to God’s family.” The key bible verse is from 1 John 3:14:

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love other believers.

The question to consider is:

If you were put on trial for your faith, and your expression of love were the only evidence, what would the verdict be?

In part, yesterday’s journal touched upon this aspect of our love being interconnected to our faith in that our core belief and identity in Christ compels us to love one another. We are called to live out our faith and love one another, our neighbors. I would modify the key bible verse to extend beyond the body of believers to include all people. Yes,we should definitely love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but it is also non-exclusive to include everyone irrespective of our faith.

To the question itself, the key here is to understanding the definition of “expression of love”. The immediate preceding word “your” is always vitally important – we have the freedom to define this term for ourselves, not anyone else. I suspect that in a real trial, we would not be given so generous a term or charge. However, in this situation, I would first start my defense by arguing that everything I do is motivated by God and I would therefore consider everything I do is ultimately rooted and based in an expression of God’s love and the nature of my faith defining my identity in Christ.

Now, not every little thing I do would be an expression of love for God, but in the important things it would hopefully shine true. I try to treat everyone equally, with respect and generally interact with people demonstrating a love that I equally hope people would show me. I know I try my best to demonstrate grace, patience, kindness, generosity and humility, which are all fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. In my list here I chose to exclude love which is the first and arguably the most important gift of the Spirit because our topic here today is all about love. When we exhibit and express love, ultimately we are living out the entire set of fruits of the Spirit. I make the case that it is a package deal; all or nothing. The fruits of the Spirit all are present when we express God’s love.

It is my prayer that in this scenario of being in trial for my faith, I would be found to be faithful and true to God; 100% guilty of being a follower of Christ. After all, when it comes to our faith, God has taught us that to be lukewarm is worse and that we should be totally on fire for Him and bringing the gospel to this world that needs His love.