Love That Protects

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects…” -1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)

Every day there is a Christian somewhere in the world undergoing persecution or hardship for their stand in Christ. Living in countries where corruption and tyranny are rampant, they must endure unspeakable torment and everyday is a fight against injustice and oppression. Some of their cases are reported by the mainstream media, but countless others are never brought into the light. However, there are organizations which fight to make sure that the stories and voices of these persecuted Christians are not silenced by the iron fist of their governments. Out of their love for the truth of Christ, and for those who stand up for it, these organizations risk much to bring awareness to the plight of the persecuted church. They assure them through tangible action that they have a voice and are supported by those who are praying for them and care about defending their right to exist and follow Jesus.

By the definition Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, love is not some passive feeling that keeps silent when trouble is brewing. Rather it will get itself involved and take the side of truth. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to know Him, He will give us a love for Him, which will then lead us to love His truth and to love those who speak His truth. What are we doing to defend our brothers and sisters when they encounter opposition for their stand in Christ? Do we remain silent, content with preserving our own reputation in the eyes of the crowd? Or will we join our voices with those who will do anything to speak life into the lives of others. Granted, it can be a hard decision at times for our instinctive human reaction is to lean toward the former. But when we lean on Christ and allow Him to strengthen us, He will give us the confidence to speak the truth in love so that we may be an encouragement and blessing not only to those who are thirsty to hear, but to those who are working towards the same goal as well.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Overflow Like A Volcano

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.” –Psalm 40:10 (NIV)

Does a volcano ever hold back when it erupts? We would be hard-pressed to convince ourselves that it does. I have seen footage of major volcanic eruptions and I do not believe it to be a stretch to say that volcanoes are not of the self-conscious sort. On the contrary, a volcano is not afraid to allow the magma it has stored beneath its rocky surface to be expelled into the sky and into the surrounding area. It does not say to itself that perhaps it should hold back a little and practice some self-control. Rather, it allows its lava to overflow from within and to freely pour itself over the landscape. Granted a volcanic eruption is devastating and never pleasant. But there is much to learn from its boldness.

We as humans are so unlike volcanoes. Too often we keep things to ourselves and shy away from expressing what God has done and is doing in our lives. Perhaps we fear of becoming an eyesore to others if we show His love and tell of his righteousness, and thus we resign ourselves to going with the crowd; making sure that no one knows of the work which Christ is doing within us. But when we do this, we deprive ourselves of the chance to grow in our faith and see God at work in the lives of others. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to abide with Him, He will cause His love and righteousness to overflow from within us. As Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 “…God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love…”  His Spirit will embolden us to show His love to others, tell them of His righteousness with our lives, and speak of His faithfulness to us. Unlike a volcano, the overflow that will come from within us when we allow Christ’s Spirit to carry out His work will not destroy. Instead, it will only bring healing and life to all as He is made manifest in our words and actions.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Song of Strength

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” –Exodus 15:2 (NIV)

I once remember coming across an interesting account of a group of Christians in ancient Rome. Persecuted for their faith in Christ they were in chains and were being led to the coliseum to be ripped apart by wild animals. But what struck the people observing this procession was that the Christians were singing and celebrating! Where there would normally be weeping and mourning, there was joy and a confident expectation of a glorious hope. The sight struck people both as odd and as admirable that these children of Christ would have such boldness in the face of death. It has been proven that part of the reason that Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire was the witness of these Christians under persecution; causing many to seek to learn more about Christ and accept Him as Lord.

How often do we have the same attitude in the face of suffering? When confronted by adverse circumstances, the song in our hearts is usually one of despair rather than hope and joy. Feeling crushed under the weight of our trials we feel helpless and weak. Such feelings then give way to hopelessness and we succumb to a defeatist attitude which tells us that victory will forever elude us. However there is hope in the Lord of the Universe; who stand omnipotent over all. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and work in our lives, he will strengthen us by His Spirit. In leaning on Him and allowing ourselves to be rooted in His Word, we will find that strength and boldness which only comes from knowing that He works all things together for His perfect plan for us. Resting in Him we will be able to sing boldly, even in the direst of circumstances, for as Romans 8:37 says, “…we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Christ has overcome sin and death through His own death and resurrection. As His children who have become like Him in His death and resurrection, we have a strength derived from the eternal hope of being made one with Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.