1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
This devotional series is themed “United”, and the meaning behind it was so cleverly coined by our dear Pastor at River, Dr Stephen Tan. He said that being United basically stands for: U and (N) I Together Evangelize and Disciple. For a good amount of time, I was pondering over what evangelism actually is and how I could summarize all of what it comprised into a mere few words that did not take away its full meaning in any way. Finally, I think I have got it figured out. Evangelism in two words, according to what I believe, is really just “to love”. And it can be carried out by every single person who is in Christ, it isn’t limited to the missionaries or to the Pastors and elders of the church, it is for all of us to do.
I admit, showing God’s love to people can be difficult sometimes, especially if you already have some preconceived ideas about that person, but to clarify, it is never complicated. As always, it comes down to a personal decision that you have to make, whether you want to look past your discomfort and dislike and let God’s light shine upon that person through you, or you can just take the easy way out and ignore him or her. Maybe you feel the fear of getting rejected somehow and I totally understand that feeling. I have been following a couple of church mates to the housing estates in our church’s vicinity to knock on doors to give out tracts and I used to have this initial barrier to even get started because there was that fear lingering, telling me that my efforts were in vain and the invitations I gave out would not be received well. But over time, I have learnt to deal with that, I do to all what I do for those that actually smile back and appreciate what I am doing despite the fact some of them may be of a different religion. Even if I had every door slammed in my face, I know that they are not actually rejecting me but the Word of truth that will set them free.
Other times, you may not know how to really go about loving someone. The answer is pretty simple, the Word of God says in Mark 12:31 “love your neighbor as yourself, there is no greater commandment than this” and in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Again, I am relatively sure that as Christians we have all heard of these verses somewhere at some point in our walk with God, the problem just lies in our execution. Just being able to recite these verses by heart is not going to make you any more loving than someone who doesn’t know it if you are not going to translate it into action. The moment we are in Christ, it’s really so much more than just being blessed and leading a prosperous life that is filled with abundance. Everything we say and everything we do ought to reflect the character of our Father. We are His ambassadors and messengers, so I really urge you that before you choose to do something that may not be right, think twice, because it’s not just about you anymore. Besides, I am very certain that when you make the right choices and decisions in accordance to God’s Words and Promises, there will surely be no regrets whatsoever.
Therefore, remember your identity in Christ and act with that in mind, loving those God has placed around you because after all, He is the one Who first loved us, which is why we are able to love now.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that it was because You first loved us that we are able to love in such a manner now. Father, I thank You also, that You give us such simple instructions to follow when it comes to loving those around us. Though I will never be able to fully comprehend the depths of Your love for me, I pray that I will slowly but surely love more and more like You as I consciously make an effort to look past what my flesh is feeling so that I am able to shine Your light to those who need it. I thank You that I am a favored child of Yours and I pray that as I grow to love more, people will notice the transformation that I have gone through and know that it is not by human efforts that all of these are possible, but by Your strength. Thank You that You have chosen me as Your messenger and ambassador, and may I always be reminded of what You did for me that I can have the life I have now. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”