Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Your ID, visible or invisible?

Violinists can be spotted easily. It is the raw discolored callous on the left side of the neck. (Too much practicing!) Brass players are likewise branded on the upper lip with a "red cheerio", the mouthpiece imprint from high-pressure playing, usually worn very proudly! Guitar players wear their left hand finger tip callouses and long nails on the right hand. I suppose every job leaves its accompanying ID marks on its workers. What about Christians? Is it bumper stickers, WWJD jewelry, fish insignias, lapel pins? What did Jesus say was to be our foremost identifying trait?

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." It could be expected that the Lord might well have said, if ye have love for your enemies. But instead the litmus test is right there in the church! We must remember the sober warning, "whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know where he going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." Harboring any degree of hatred for brothers and sisters in Christ is devastating for us and for all those watching for some evidence of reality in the Christian life. James also points out the futility of duplicity. Can a fountain both yield fresh water and sweet? Should we bless God and curse men in the same breath?

Let us purge ourselves of every unkind and judgmental criticism. The implanted new nature is only capable of edifying conversation. The old nature, full of every evil word and deed, has been crucified. Why then should we act as if it still dominates our behavior? Viewing all people as God sees them will help purify our walk, and will evoke the love for one another that is the key trademark of Christ's church. "Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works (love for each other) and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

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