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"If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that"
So perhaps you have gone to church for quite some time now-that's great! The only problem with that scenario is that there is good news and bad news.
The good news is this: having attended church for a while, you have been exposed to the truth of God's word and (hopefully) have been growing in your faith.
The bad news? Having attended church for a while, you have been exposed to the truth of God's word and (had better) been growing in your faith.
It is an awesome privilege to live in a place where we can worship God freely. Yet with that opportunity comes responsibility. God is not overly pleased with His children who sit in church, soak up the truth, and squander the chance to live more Christlike in their lives.
And just how do we know if we are living more like Jesus? Let me eliminate some of the so-called 'standards' for being a good Christian.
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
That's right, it's all about the love. Not the sentimental sappy smooshy kind, but the self-sacrificing surrendering sort. Here's a story I came across that illustrates the point:
Our Souls (soles) Touched
My alarm went off -- it was Sunday again; I was tired -- it was my one day to sleep in, but the guilt I'd have felt the rest of the day would have been too much, so I'd go; I'd pray.
I showered and shaved, adjusted suit and tie, Got there and swung into a pew just in time. Bowing my head in humble prayer before I closed my eyes, I saw that the shoe of the man next to me was touching my own, and I sighed.
With plenty of room on either side, I thought, "why do our soles have to touch?" It bothered me so; he was glued to my shoe, but it didn't seem to bother him much.
Then the prayer began: "Heavenly Father," someone said-- But I thought, "Does this man with the shoes have no pride?" They were dusty, worn, scratched end to end. What's worse, there were holes on the side!
"Thank You for blessings," the prayer went on. The shoe man said a quiet "amen." I tried to focus on the prayer, but my thoughts were on his shoes again.
Aren't we supposed to look our best when walking through that door? "Well, this certainly isn't it," I thought, glancing toward the floor. Then the prayer ended and songs of praise began. The shoe man was loud, sounding proud as he sang. He lifted the rafters; his hands raised high; The Lord surely heard his voice from the sky.
Then the offering was passed; what I threw in was steep.
The shoe man reached into his pockets, so deep, and I tried to see what he pulled out to put in, then I heard a soft "clink," as when silver hits tin.
The sermon bored me to tears--And no lie--It was the same for the shoe man, for tears fell from his eyes.
At the end of the service, as is custom here, we must greet the visitors and show them good cheer. But I was moved inside to want to meet this man, so after the closing, I shook his hand.
He was old, his skin dark, his hair a mess. I thanked him for coming, for being our guest He said, "My name's Charlie, glad to meet you, my friend," And there were tears in his eyes--but he had a wide grin.
"Let me explain," he said, wiping his eyes. "I've been coming for months, and you're the first to say, 'Hi.' I know I don't look like all the rest, But I always try to look my best. I polish my shoes before my long walk, but by the time I get here they're as dirty as chalk."
My heart fell to my knees, but I held back my tears, He continued, "And I must apologize for sitting so near. But I know when I get here, I must look a sight, and I thought. .. If I touched you, our souls might unite."
I was silent for a moment knowing anything I said would pale in comparison, so I spoke from my heart not my head.
"Oh, you've touched me," I said. "And taught me, in part, that the best of a man is what's in his heart." The rest, I thought, this man will never know . . . How thankful I am that he touched my soul!
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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