In Cambodia where I live, we have a Khmer term we use for teaching or preaching, it is "jai jai". It means in English "sharing". The idea behind it is that a brother will share something the Lord has put on his heart.
So, in the spirit of jai jai, I would like to share something I just sent out to others with you all. To some this may seem old news or obvious and maybe to some it may seem like hubris to share something I wrote. I hope though that it will be seen merely as me wanting to share something that might help others and my attempt to be obedient.
Marks of the True Christian
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (ESV)
Yesterday, I sent out an email about Romans 12:1 and how God considers it logical, reasonable and necessary that we become an instrument in God's hands as a complete living sacrifice to His agenda, His purposes, His right way of living in this world. God actually calls this "worship" and He seeks true worshipers.
In the verses that follow Romans 12:1, are several verses about spiritual gifting. The order of this is not an accident. First, we give ourselves to the Lord, then the Lord pours out extraordinary gifting in order to use us as those human torches, testimonies and tenders of His grace.
Many people long for, clamor for and pray for Spiritual fire to come down from God in themselves and in the church but the sequence seems to be that the fire of human sacrifice must GO UP before the fire of Spiritual power COMES DOWN.
As an example, the Macedonian church showed extraordinary love and generosity to the poorer saints in Jerusalem in spite of their own terrible afflictions and extreme poverty. They actually begged to give beyond their ability in their own dire circumstances. What was the Holy Spirit's expressed explanation for their love? Paul says that the genesis of this extraordinary supernatural gifting was that "they first had given themselves to the Lord" ( as human sacrifices of their very lives).
Extraordinary power and gifting in order to be a true Christian finds its starting point not first in prayer, but in sacrifice.
A couple of days ago I sent out an email saying that a true Christian was one who had faith AND Brotherly Love that is properly love that is sacrificial and that enters into suffering for the sake of the beloved.
So, today, I think the Lord would say that a true Christian is one who, like their Master, trusts completely in God, has offered up their lives as a living and if necessary dying sacrifice for others and who loves the Brethern with all that they are and with the spiritual gifts that God will provide if they have trusted in and have given themselves to the Lord to serve others. That is what a faithful and most fruitful Christian will be and do.
In the Romans 12:9-13 passage above, note the emphasis on giving ourselves over to righteousness and the Lord's work agenda, notice the intentionality, the laser focus, the zeal, the fervency, notice the foundation of servanthood for Jesus' sake and the sake of others, and finally a reminder to accomplish all of this by a dependency on God through constancy in prayer. This is to be the summary of our daily journal entries describing each of our days in this life.
Challenge: Write down how you would describe your day yesterday or even do a general outline of the past month or last 6 months and then overlay that against the Lord's "Day Planner" for your day or month(s) for you in light of these passages from Scripture.
Living Sacrifice to God for others' sake, an instrument in God's hands for His agenda and purposes, fervent, affectionate, zealous sacrificial love to the brothers and sisters, spiritual giftings and power, constant in prayer. A daily life of worship pleasing to God. Is it a comfortable fit?