Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Looking for Christ's work in people

I've shared a couple of times that I often struggle to love other Christians. This year has been really hard, in multiple relationships and a variety of situations. I've been confronted with my own sin as seldom before. This sin may be invisible to most people, even those I'm sinning against, but I know what happens in my heart. The sinful emotions that steal my joy in Christ have become familiar enemies. All too often I have failed to heed these verses:

Phillipians 2: 3 " . . . in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

Proverbs 11: 12 "He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor".

At some point, I relalised this had to end. But how? How could I stop thinking these things? I have not yet had total victory, but one thing has been a great help. This is to take the time to look for signs of grace in other Christians, as recommended in C.J. Mahaney's book Humility: true Greatness. I took the time to write these down and look for as many as possible. This is a practice I recommend.

I did not restrict my writing to people who I was struggling to love, but also included some whom I find it easy to admire and enjoy. The idea is based on this verse:

1 Corinthians 1:4 "I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus"

The idea is to look for signs of this grace at work. We know it is there, but sometimes we fail to acknowledge its evidence! One way to observe it is to look for the fruits of the spirit and the way people are using their gifts to serve. I did this with my Mum, who is a great blessing to me (and is not one of the people I particularly struggle to love!). I'll share the points here to give you an idea of what you could do:

Love for God, the Bible, and her family. Enduring love that forgets wrongs. Forgiving love. Humble love. Hopeful love.

Joy in her salvation, answered prayer, and godly fellowship.

Patience with her husband, her children, projects she undertakes, and her with people at school.

Goodness in visiting Aunty Val, filling her mind with good things and avoiding evil, and helping Janelle.

Gentleness toward all.

Self-control in keeping house, gardening, rising early, keeping her emotions in check, holding her tongue, and preparing for teaching.

Long-suffering in the face of her health struggles.

Kindness in speech, offers of help, prayers and gifts.

As I have gone through this process with a number of Christians, it has always been abundantly clear that God is at work in their lives! This has given me a renewed and healthier perspective on those people I struggle to love.

No comments:

Post a Comment