In a world that is looking for an absolute, in a world without absolutes, there is an answer for all mankind and every situation. Regardless of denominational boundaries of the Christian faith, we can all proclaim that Jesus is the Savior of the world. And, our world is in desperate need of a vision of the Savior.
The Apostle Paul stated, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
When we evaluate the mentalities of the ”sinner” and the “saint,” we can see this scripture that was penned in II Timothy coming to life today. From racial discrimination, to domestic violence, to lack of respect for authority, and oppression of those that are seen as less of a people, socially, the Living Word is confirming itself, almost daily. So what is the answer to our battles within and without? The answer is LOVE!!
Jesus was asked by a lawyer of the Pharisees, “which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Many Christians today love the “first and great commandment” and a portion of the second. But make no mistake, association with a congregation or a ministry does not make one a Christian.
The word “Christian” means to be Christ-like. And to be Christ-like we need to follow not only the 10 Commandments delivered by Moses in the Old Testament, but also those that the Savior stated upon which hang all the law and the prophets. It is a huge misconception to believe that we can be filled with the Spirit of the Living God and harbor the ugliness being exposed in this world, simultaneously.
The second portion of this proclamation by Jesus contains our answer to the social unrest of our world and the internal torment. He said, “love thy neighbor.” That covers not only the person next door, but the person sitting next to you on the airplane or bus, the driver in the next lane, and the homeless that we pass on the street.
But two very important words are often left out of this quote when stated by today’s saint: “as thyself.” When we learn to love our neighbor as ourselves, we take ownership of their feelings as being as important as ours. We are able to sympathize with their situation in a way that brings about compassion instead of judgment.
Most will agree that the state of the world must change, but what’s it really worth to us, individually. It is easy and almost natural for us to judge the problems of the other side, when the answer and the solution must come from within. We must allow the love of Jesus to manifest itself and extend mercy and grace.
My challenge to mankind is love God with everything you have and love people as you love yourself, even when we don’t see the personal benefits. Our benefits (treasures) are laid up in Heaven.
The Rev. David Poe is pastor of Star City United Pentecostal Church.
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