The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Conviction and Compassion"
"Be of one mind" commanded the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, and then added for good and absolutely necessary measure, "Live in peace" (II Corinthians 13:11).
Two thousand years later, the body of Christ still works on faithfulness to Paul's mandate, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Whether in personal relationships or corporately, devoted believers disagree on matters we believe to be important. Many are, and we must all seek to know God and His truth as declared by Scripture, rightly interpreted and humbly understood and applied. We must determine to walk with both conviction and compassion, a unity of spiritual traits only possible through the Holy Spirit's working in our hearts to reveal the character of the Lord Jesus.
"Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 1:3).
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Jude and Paul unite to cast us to our knees and faces in the mandate to "contend" for the genuine and true faith of Christ, while maintaining "all lowliness and meekness." How is this possible? How can we present a decisive affirmation of truth, as we understand it, but with just as decisive a heart and mind of humility? Being on our knees and faces provides the best means of finding the answer. When considering matters of doctrine and practice with fellow believers, particularly when we see things differently, we must remember that in the sight of God, how we contend is every bit as important as that we contend. If we follow Jude's mandate without seeking God's grace to adorn ourselves with the character and demeanor of Christ, as prescribed by Paul, we will do little good in our attempts to affirm our position. Indeed, we can win the battle of argument, but lose the war of rightly serving as the ambassador of the Lord Jesus. Much prayer regarding conviction and compassion must therefore precede our determination to fight the good fight. The Spirit of God alone can lead us to faithfully fulfill the "How?" and the "What?"
We do well to remember the truth that our brother's heart is as important as his mind (more so, actually - Proverbs 4:23). If I change his opinion, but do so in a manner that distorts the character of Christ, have I really helped him? Maybe not, and the possibility of seeming to do good, while actually doing harm, should once again lead us to posture of prayer in our own hearts and minds. No matter of our walk with the Lord more reveals our complete need for the leading and enabling of Christ. And doubtless, no matter will more find Him gladly revealing through us the union of His glorious conviction and compassion.
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
(III John 1:4)
"Be clothed with humility."
(I Peter 5:5)
(In respect to theme of today's messages, let's do 2 memory verses this week)
Weekly Memory Verse
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth…. Be clothed with humility."
(III John 1:4; I Peter 5:5)
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