The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Conviction and Character"
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ all know God in the context of our personal heritage, history, upbringing, experience, and response to His grace and truth in the Lord Jesus. Thus, we have a "common faith," based on the same Lord and truth, but with a nearly infinite variety of our Heavenly Father's administrations and working in our lives (Titus 1:4).
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ" (I Corinthians 12:12).
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30).
I share this to encourage my heart and yours to hold steadfast to the common faith, and "the faith which was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). We must be doctrinal as believers, that is, the objective truth of Scripture must guide us, teach us, confirm us, and correct us. We will inevitably go astray if we do not abide in the Bible, ever seeking to grow in our understanding of "It is written," and "Thus saith the Lord."
Concurrent with such conviction, however, must be our endeavor to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3). The importance of doctrine walks hand in hand with the necessity of mutual respect among believers. We can disagree with one another without dishonoring each other. We can be strong in affirmation of our beliefs, while humbly esteeming those with whom we disagree. We can look into the hearts of brethren, seeing the Spirit of Christ who dwells there, while we may differ on points of faith and practice. In no way does this minimize the doctrines of Scripture. It rather confirms them, especially the truth stated and implied in Paul's admonition to the Ephesians:
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Truth matters. It matters so much that it must be ever and always known within the scope and measure of the love of Christ - "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Failure to emphasize the Bible and its doctrine will inevitably lead us to compromise conviction. Failure to walk in the love so emphasized in the Bible will inevitably lead us to compromise character. I can disagree with my brother and strongly contend for my position. I can - and must - also love him as I do so. We have all come from different places in our walk with the Lord, which have great influence on what we think and believe. Remembering this will go far in encouraging our determination to know God and His truth as well as we possibly can. It will also help us to remember that as we seek to help each other, maintaining mutual respect through the love of Christ will go far in bringing all to a greater understanding, and to a walk with each other that bears powerful witness to our Lord and His truth…
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another."
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
(II Timothy 2:24-26).
Weekly Memory Verse
And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, O Lord, Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.