fruits-of-the-spiritBY STEVE DUNN

” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This is an open letter to my fellow Christians:

You and I are on mission with Jesus. It is not a political crusade or a culture war. We share with Jesus the responsibility to proclaim the message that he brought into the world when he entered time and space 2000 years ago, “To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God.”

There are a lot of people who claim to speak for Jesus; including people who do not follow Jesus but want to use their interpretation of the historical Jesus to make him an ordinary guru of goodness instead of the Liberating King and the Leader of our Lives.

And it’s hard for the world to know who to believe.

Jesus gave us a clear set of instructions on how to help them. “You are my disciples if you obey my commands.” There are really just two commands, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He did not tell us to be reproductions of the Old Testament prophets. In fact, we are told that we must read that book through New Testament eyes; i.e., the lens of Jesus’ life and words. He called us to be salt and light – to add seasoning to the world and to truth to the world. But that is intended to be through lives that demonstrate that God is already at work within us.

Paul gives that a particular focus when he reminds us of the “fruit of the Spirit”, the DNA of Jesus that shapes us and defines our actions. Read those words again at the top of this post.

Peter, who was martyred on a cross, because of his willingness to be Jesus’ disciple added even more pointed counsel. I Peter 3:8-15 tells us:

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

Every time I hear you demand your rights, I wonder how that matches Jesus’ command to humble ourselves and serve, or Paul’s reminder that our rights are to be set aside for the sake of the Message.

Every time I hear you defend the NRA passionately, I wonder what that says to the world who were told by Isaiah that Jesus would be the “prince of peace.”

Every time I hear you say hateful things about people who have chosen the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle, I wonder what John is thinking about the Word, “God came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

Every time I hear Christians seeking to accepted by being politically correct and attacking the simple faith of sports athletes and belittling those who believe the Jesus is the only way to a relationship with the Father, I wonder if you have not changed the eternal destiny of someone who needs to meet the Truth Who sets us free.

Are people who use their rights to destroy the moral fabric of a community to be honored? No. Are people who want to pick and choose what “rights” are politically correct? No. Are people who chose alternate lifestyles right? No. Are people who want to turn Christianity into a water-downed religion instead of a genuine relationship with their Savior to be ignored? No.

But as we deal with these things we must do them with the words and actions of Jesus. The ends do not justify the means. And in the end, what does it profit us to win a culture war but forfeit the souls of the people in that culture because we have no redemptive relationship with them?

Please prayerfully think about that.

© 2013 by STEPHEN L DUNN



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