By: Kristen L. McNulty
Today I want to talk about a common misconception that people have of the Christian life. The Bible is quite clear that we can do nothing to earn what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross: dying for our sins and giving us the gift of eternal. But many people mistakenly assume that the story ends there. Jesus died for my sins, I believe in Him and I'm going to heaven and that's all there is to it. In reality there is so much more to Christianity than just a get out of hell free card. Jesus doesn't take us to heaven the moment we believe for a reason- He has something planned for us to do here on this earth!
All around us are people in need. Some have physical needs like needing food or clothing or shelter. Others have spiritual needs because they are still disconnected from God and need His presence in their lives. The needs are great and so is the responsibility that all of us have to do something about it!
Let's read from James chapter 2:
"Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, 'Goodbye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well' - but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless." (James 2:15-17)
We learn from these verses that faith in Christ and action on earth go hand in hand. And the question I have for you, the same one I ask myself, is what are you doing about it? Are you saying you believe but then going about life the same way that you did before, taking whatever you can get but not giving a whole lot back? If that's the case please, I'm begging you, don't believe the lie that this kind of living is okay. Let's take a look at a few verses from Jesus' own words that tell us the kind of life we should be living:
John 13:34: "[Jesus said:] A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
John 15:12: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
Mark 12:30-31: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Love means going the extra mile, it means giving even when it hurts, it means never passing by when by you stopping you can meet a need. Love forgives, it pursues, it puts itself last. Love changes lives. And nothing less than love is what we should be aiming to live out on a daily basis.
Francis Chan wrote in his book "Crazy Love":
"God's definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love."
So what can be said about your life? Is it a life of liking other people or truly loving them? You might not be all the way there yet, but God is with you. He will help you to love people when it's scary, when life is rough and even when you'd rather keep to yourself. Allow yourself to be a reflection of the love He's already placed in you!
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