John 10:10-11 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
In the heart of almost every man is the desire to understand what is the meaning of his existence. We all confront this in a different way but at some point we realize that we are mortal and our time is limited so we have to ask ourselves is there something beyond this world and if so what that means for our lives. In my practice as an attorney, I see people in very difficult circumstances so it is not uncommon for them to ask me my thoughts on matters of faith. I think sometimes as Christians we can often be so quick to give answers that we forget that sometimes what people really need is for someone to listen (See James 1:19). As I have gotten older I see the value in not being too quick to give answers because sometimes what people really need is to consider things for themselves. However, no matter what the problem is that a person is dealing with the ultimate need of every human is to find their rest in God, often though it takes a person trying to find their fulfillment in everything else before they are at point where they realize that God is the thing that would have satisfied them all along. The question we must ask ourselves as Christian is how to do we show the world that what we have is different than what the world offers.
The scriptures teach that the world will know us by how we love each other, and if there is no appreciable difference in the way we relate to one another then why would someone consider what we have of any value (see John 13:35)? Jesus says to be fishers of men and in order to do that we must go to where the people are at and be willing to love people who are very difficult to love. I have heard so many sermons which state accurately that our country is in a state of moral decline and while I don’t deny the culture is abandoning absolute truth, I still see that the gospel reaching people. It is so easy to just assume that because the abandonment of God in the culture that our efforts to share our faith won’t make a difference, but this thought is based on the false premise that we are somehow involved in the changing of someone’s heart (See John 17). As Christians we are just called to love and share the hope that is in us with those who the Lord puts into our lives and leave the results to him However, if we are not being intentional with this then the question becomes whether we actually believe in the gospel ourselves. I don’t see how it is possible for Christ to be in someone and for their never be any desire in that person to share the hope that they have with people in their lives. I do believe we all can serve in different ways as the scriptures teach (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
However, if all we do is go to church on Sunday and hear a sermon then go about our week, then it seems like we may be wasting our time. I do think that all Christians go through times where they are closer to the lord than others, and all of us stumble and fall and make foolish sinful choices… But there is a difference between someone stumbling while running and someone who never participates. The truth is that the gospel is true and it can bring joy to every heart that receives Christ. Jesus won’t necessarily make it easier for you and in fact he states that you may be hated for loving him, but he does that that in him you will find peace. As someone who knows the daily struggle of chronic pain that comes from arthritis I realize that knowing Christ doesn’t mean he will take away your pain, but it does mean he can give you joy in it if you let him. I don’t write this devotional to condemn anyone nor to say I have figured it out because that’s not true. I struggle every day to practice my faith correctly and I fail many times, but I sometimes do get a chance to share Christ with others and I am thankful for that opportunity even though I am an imperfect messenger. That’s the point though we don’t have to pretend that we have it all together when we share with other we can be honest about our failures whether past or current and sometimes if we will stop playing this stupid game with people that we have it all together people will actually be willing to listen to what we have to say (see 1 John 1:18).
Christians have to stop attacking each other every time they see someone sin as if we should rejoice in the failings of others, how will people ever come to repentance when they are fearful of being attacked by people in the church? We must lovingly and privately confront those who sin and never disparage them as if we have perfect lives. When the world see’s us do this to each other it discourages them from wanting what we have, because they fear what will happen if they come clean about their own sins. So if we want to have faith that matters we must be intentional with people in our lives, but also show grace to each other and grieve when someone stumbles rather than rejoice in the suffering of others. If we can show the world the Love that God has shown us then we can truly have faith that matters.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at email@example.com our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personal a qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com which contains my contact information. God Bless.