Is it the bible knowledge? Is it the belonging to a certain church? Is it the weekly attendance of going to church on Sundays? Is it community living?
More than often, we hear remarks from non-believers that Christians are no different than the rest. They fight among themselves. They criticize and judge. They look down on others. Sometimes they behave worse than other people. Christians are humans too. We are still learning to be a good Christian. Sometimes we take a lifetime to learn to be a Christian. Forgive us.
So what is a Christian? A christian is a follower of Christ.
The question is..what does it take to be a follower of Christ?
Take a few examples. The late Mother Teresa, Heidi Baker, Lydia Prince and etc. They are all Christians but what do they have in common? Everyone in the world recognizes them not because of their preaching and not because of their going to church. The Indians love Mother Teresa so much that they gave her a state funeral when she died. Heidi Baker is known all over Africa for her compassionate ministry to the poor. All the Arabs and Jews probably know Lydia Prince for her risk in taking orphans from two most conflicting races.
What is the one thing that people from all over the world recognize in them? Is it the habit that Mother Teresa wore or is it the vows that she had taken? Is it Heidi Baker's great preaching or her PHD education? Is it Lydia's courage to leave her homeland? It's simple yet difficult to grasp. The answer is LOVE. God is love as it is written in 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
How do we love? It is easier said than done and love is always interpreted in a million ways. The most important question is,"How do we love with God's love?"
In John 3:16,"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jesus set the perfect example. He obeyed His Father and gave His ALL for us. Every drop of His blood He poured for us. He gave His All and fully surrendered to His Father's will so that He can show us what is Love. So what do we do? To love means to surrender our whole being, body, heart, mind and soul to God. The rest will follow.
In the book "Come Be My Light" which revealed a couple of private writings of Mother Teresa, she wrote,
" I wanted to give God something very beautiful and without reserve." She wanted to say Yes to God in all circumstances despite her fears and worries and weaknesses. She further explained," Why must we give ourselves fully to God? Because God has given Himself to us. If God who owes nothing to us is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? To give ourselves fully to God is a means of receiving God Himself. I for God and God for me. I live for God and give up my own self, and in this way induce God to live for me. Therefore to possess God we must allow Him to possess our soul."
It is difficult and many times, it involves sacrifices, a change of lifestyle, persecutions and even the loss of loved ones. Mother Teresa never saw her mother again after she left her homeland at the age of eighteen. Lydia left her homeland and went to Jerusalem with no mission or church to support her. Heidi had to leave the comforts of her home and live poorly for many years.
To love means to surrender to God and love as He wants us to; be it in the mission field, be it at home or be it in the office.
Let us look beyond status, races, countries, genders, denominations, theological differences and whatever that differentiates us from the outside.Let us take a step further and obey what Jesus has commanded us to do.
John 13:34 -35"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
That way, everyone will know that we are the followers of Christ because God is Love.
Let's pray that we will give ourselves wholeheartedly to God and love as He commands us to without reserve.