Has the church lost her way? Has the world influenced her more than the word? We live in a most challenging time, and the need for disciples to shine has never been needed more. The decay of sin summons us to be salty. The beatitudes make it evident that fulfilling our function as salt and light demands us to be different, directed by a greater principle than our human reaction.
The Lord has called us to a higher road. It is uncomfortable, nonconformist and puts us out of step with the majority. Love is not even a consideration when darkness grips the heart expressing itself in behavior. There is no love of God or neighbor in that place. Disciples are different. Loving God is the top priority, and that prompts love for neighbor. Our Creator made it clear that we cannot do one without the other (1 John 4:20). It truly is the road less traveled, and there is never congested traffic.
“For God so loved the world…” Virtually everyone knows that famous verse, or do we? God’s love is beyond our understanding. We try to imagine how He could care so much for anyone, much less everyone, to take such an extraordinary step as to give His Son. He wants every person to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4), and provided the way for that to be accomplished. The church is comprised of all who share the blessings of His abundant grace. We also share the scars of a sinful past.
What we see all around us exposes what we also once were. It is a mirror of our own past. We may not share in the specifics, but we have all been subject to the whims of foolishness (Titus 3:3). Reminders are scattered throughout the New Testament of who we were and how the mercy of God saved us. His grace should lead us to be gracious. His love is a model for us.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children…(Ephesians 5:1).” It is a sobering and humbling reality when we realize that we have not been saved because we are irresistibly lovable. No, it was an act of grace and mercy because God loves us. Now, our charge is to pass it on following the example of His Son, “…and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Ephesians 5:2).” We have been adopted into the family of God, and the ultimate expression of that is the family resemblance. God is love. His Son demonstrated that love in service and sacrifice. The fruit of the Spirit is love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).” Now, more than ever, we must shine. The darkness desperately needs it.