RSS

Tag Archives: love

Online Christians

Online Christians

We’re continuing our study through the book of Romans. In this section, he’s dealing with the way believers who think differently should relate to each other.

We like to think that our opinion is right about questionable issues. That’s especially true if we grew up in a church where we heard the same thing preached for our whole life. We get pretty ingrained in our ways.

Paul makes it clear in Romans that it’s more about love, and less about what I think is right. Here’s the verses that we looked at over the last couple of posts. It’s a good review.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

Romans 14:19-21

We need to be careful to look out for each other. We can’t trample others down with our opinions. As a matter of fact, Paul makes a bold statement. We really need to take it to heart in this generation. Especially when it comes to what we say on social media.

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

Romans 14:22

Wow! If ever anybody needed to hear this, it’s us. The way a lot of believers act on social media is an embarrassment to the body of Christ.

Remember, Paul is speaking here about those gray areas of life. Yes, I know that you think that your way is the best, but love has to be the bottom line.

Do you believe something? That’s wonderful. But in a spiritual setting, keep your politics to yourself. That is, unless you were asked about it.

There are some real “hot button” issues out there today. I know it.

“You should wear a mask.” “You shouldn’t wear a mask.”

“You should get a vaccine.” “Don’t get a vaccine.”

I have seen these issues turn into belligerent shouting matches between Christians. We resort to belittling and name-calling. All for what? Because we think we’re right.

Remember, I’m not saying this, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did. “Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”

It’s time for us to stop attacking each other and focus on the work of the kingdom. Stop preaching your brand of politics, and start preaching Jesus.

Paul literally says, don’t allow yourself to be condemned by what you approve. This is condemnation from an outside source. The world is watching us and thinks that there’s no change when you come to Christ. We act just like them.

But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:23

Here’s the other side of the coin. Don’t put yourself in a position to be condemned. If you don’t feel you should be doing something, and you do it because you saw someone else do it, for you it’s sin. This person is condemned because of a lack of faith.

Paul is telling us that everything that does not originate from our faith, misses the mark. Paul concludes this with the following statement.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

Romans 15:1-3

Simply put, it’s not about pleasing ourselves. It’s about edifying, building up, the body of Christ. This verse tells us that Christ took all of our insults. How much worse is it, if I ridicule a brother in Christ and Christ has to bear it?

Question: How should a believer act when they’re online?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 20, 2021 in Faith, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Love Debt

The Love Debt

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he now talks about the debt we owe to one another.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:8-9

Paul makes it clear that we shouldn’t be in debt. However, there is a debt that will always remain in our lives. That’s the love debt that we owe to each other.

He goes as far as to say that this love actually fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This goes right along with what Jesus taught in His ministry. At one point the Lord was asked which of the commandments was the most important. Listen to His answer.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31

These are the two debts that we will always be living under. Our debt to love God and our debt to love others.

In both verses, we’re told to love others as we love ourselves. That’s an important concept. There are many people who haven’t learned to love themselves, so they find it hard to love others.

This principle of love is hard for many people to grasp. They don’t realize that this love has nothing to do with our emotions. It’s a choice we make to participate positively in someone’s life.

That includes myself. If I’m not making choices to make my life and relationships better, then I don’t really love myself. Many of us live very self-destructive lifestyles. This lack of self-love spills over into our treatment of others.

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:10

I would even say that those who treat others badly, are showing that they actually hate themselves. That’s why we need to understand how God sees us, and take up that same attitude. Even with all of my frailties and imperfections, I’m exactly who God says I am.

Having that attitude helps me to treat others with love and respect. This last verse tells us that love does no evil to his /her neighbor. You can’t say “I love them,” and then treat them badly.

That’s why love fulfills the law. Love for God, self, and others gives me the ability to fulfill God’s will for my life.

But there’s a deeper reason why we must love. The Lord told this to His disciples just before He went to the cross.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

Jesus makes it clear that our love is a part of our witness to the world. When we walk in the love of Christ, those around us see something they don’t understand. It opens the door to hearing our testimony.

Walk in God’s love, and fulfill your destiny in Christ.

Question: How have you showed the love of God recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sincere Love

Sincere Love

As we continue to study through the book of Romans, we’ll begin to see a shift in Paul’s focus. Up until this section, the apostle was writing about our personal growth. Now he begins to show how the church grows as a body.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:9-10

As he begins to talk about life in the body of Christ, it’s no wonder that Paul starts with love. It’s the Greek word, agape. This is the choice to show love to others. It has nothing to do with any emotions.

He tells us that this agape-love must be sincere. It literally means to be given without falsehood or hypocrisy.

This brings up a very important point that needs to be discussed when reading this section of Scripture. Peter does a good job of explaining it.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22

Notice how Peter begins talking about this subject. He makes it clear that he’s writing to mature believers who have purified themselves in the truth. When we’re cleaned up by the Word, brotherly love is born.

Brotherly love is the first word for love that Peter uses in this verse. It involves the emotions of friendship and camaraderie.

Then he goes on to the second word for love, which is agape – just like Paul did. Peter also uses the same word for sincerity. Why is all of this important?

We must understand this because, according to Peter, this type of love is only possible after the purifying process has begun in your life. This is written to those who are pursuing a mature walk in Christ.

What we have to realize is that from Romans, chapter 12 on, Paul is writing to the mature believers. It’s those Christians who can understand and follow these guidelines.

Both Peter and Paul make it clear that our agape-love must be mature and sincere – not faked (like baby agape). That’s because your heart has been changed by your submission to the Holy Spirit’s work in you.

Getting back to the passage in Romans, we’re told to utterly abhor, hate, be disgusted by evil. How do you do this if you haven’t gone through God’s maturing process?

Some people look at the second half of Romans as a rule book to be enforced. That’s not the case. The only way you can fulfill the message from Romans 12 on is to go through the work described in chapters 8-10. Otherwise, you’ll only end up feeling frustrated and guilty.

Paul tells us that you’re not only to hate evil, but to glue yourself to the good. Please remember that this is good by God’s standards, not ours. We have a very low opinion of good compared to God. That’s why we must be transformed to think like God thinks.

Then, Paul talks about the emotional brotherly love. The word, devoted, is interesting. It means to have an emotional affection like that of a natural, immediate family. That’s how we should feel about each other in God’s kingdom.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…

Ephesians 2:19

Of course, if you see others as part of your immediate family, then you’ll honor one another before yourself. In other words, don’t wait to be honored before you give honor.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:10

Question: What areas of growth have you seen in your personal walk with God?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 1, 2021 in Fellowship, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

In my last post, I started talking about Israel as God’s chosen people. In looking at Paul’s writings, he said that it was only the children of promise that were Abraham’s true children. Paul continues…

For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

Romans 9:9-10

Isaac was the son born of a promise. But, the same was true when Isaac went on to have children of his own. Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, had twins. They were born at the same time, in the same bloodline, into the same family.

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11-13

Now there’s a mouthful. What does that phrase, God’s purpose in election mean?

God has a purpose in choosing. Actually this goes along with Romans 8:28. Remember, in Greek that verse says, God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.

In the above verse from chapter 9, Paul uses a special word for purpose. It means something held out. It’s the Greek word that’s also used for the showbread in the Temple. They are also called the “bread of the presence.”

This showbread was displayed in the holy place of the Temple on a weekly basis. Then, incense would be poured on top of any that was not eaten. So it was eaten and burned each week.

Only those offering service to God may eat this in His presence with their prayers. It was constantly provided for the priests who served at the altar. I believe that it’s also a picture of Christ, since He called himself the Bread of Heaven (John 6:51).

That’s the word Paul used in describing God’s way of choosing. God has a purpose in His calling and choosing.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

Everything that God does is based upon His preordained plan. His plan was set out from the beginning.

So, God wanted to show that it wasn’t by works that He makes His choice. He didn’t wait to see who gave Him the better offering or service. BEFORE they did anything – God looked ahead and chose the one who would obey His plan for their life.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, in order to see what’s being said, we have to understand love and hate. Contrary to current opinion, when the Bible uses these words, they’re both without emotion.

It’s all about choices. Love is the choice to positively participate in someone’s life. Hate is the choice to negatively participate or not to participate at all.

Knowing that Jacob would participate with His plan, God participated with him. Knowing that Esau would ignore His will, God chose not to work with him.

At first, it may seem unfair that God would say such a thing. But, after the twins progressed, it was obvious that God made the right choice. That’s especially true since it was obvious that Isaac was trying desperately to groom Esau to be the chosen son.

It’s good to know that God has a plan for me. He knows the choices I’ll make, even before I make them. I’m so glad that He works with me to bring about His destiny for my life.

Question: How do you see God’s hand upon your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam’s Pattern

Adam’s Pattern

In my last post we saw that death has ruled the earth since the fall of Adam. If you remember, the Scripture had something interesting to say about him.

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Romans 5:14

This verse says that Adam was the pattern, or literally, the sample or shape of the one to come. The question that I had to ask was; how was Adam the pattern of Christ?

The answer to that is found throughout the New Testament and I think it will surprise you.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

I had a problem with this. How does Adam get all the blame? Why death only come through Adam? It was Eve who ate the fruit first, then she gave it to Adam.

Paul even admits this.

And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

1 Timothy 2:14

If that’s true, then how does Adam get blamed for the start of death’s reign? Actually, it all comes down to the pattern.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit…

1 Peter 3:18

When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she became a sinner. Adam wasn’t deceived at all. He knew that she sinned, and the penalty for that sin was death. At that point he was righteous and she was unrighteous.

We have to ask ourselves; what was God’s plan when this occurred? I believe that the answer to this is also found in the pages of Scripture.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

Ephesians 5:25

First of all, Adam should have refused the fruit and retained his righteous position. Then, he should have stood by his wife as she went before God for judgment.

Then, as the sentence against her was pronounced, he should have stood up and done what Christ was willing to do.

“Father God, I understand that Eve was deceived and fell into sin. She made a wrong choice. But I love her and I’m going to take her place.”

If Adam did that – the righteous taking the death penalty for a sinner – then the problem of sin and death would have been dealt with right there in the garden.

Adam would have died in his wife’s place. Then, because of his righteous state, God would have raised him from the dead.

I believe if that took place then humanity would have went straight into a perfected state. We would never have had a problem with sin. But Adam didn’t make that choice. Instead, he chose to serve death, not Satan.

Of course, now we have to make this same choice daily. As believers, we’re called to lay down our own lives in order to experience the life of Christ in us.

Question: What does laying down your life look like in your situation?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2021 in Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

God’s Love at the Right Time

God’s Love at the Right Time

We’re going through the book of Romans together.  Here in chapter 5, Paul is still getting us acquainted with his teaching on the Christian walk.

We’ve seen the progression of how God wants to bring us into the manifestation of His love.  The Lord wants this love to empower us in our work for Him.

Now Paul is getting to the heart of the matter.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

This Scripture is clear.  God did His greatest work while we were still without strength.

But that brings us to an important point.  God brought this about at just the right time.  That literally means Christ died at the appointed time.

This is something that we frequently get hung up on.  I have a problem differentiating between God’s appointed time vs. when I think God should have answered.  I assume God is late or ignoring my problem.  Of course, that’s foolish thinking.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2

I’ve learned that God is always on time.  In my limited understanding, I think that there’s no way out.  God, however, shows up at the right time and the right place to show Himself strong in my life.

The fact is that Jesus Christ gave His life for us.  He’s not going to ignore us now.  He wants the best for us.

According to the first passage above, He died for the irreverent.  That means those with no spiritual aptitude.

It’s hard enough, difficult enough, to die for someone we consider good.  I’m glad to say that this isn’t how God demonstrates His love.

That word, demonstrates, is a Greek word that means to introduce.  This is how God introduces His love.  While we were still actively missing the mark, Christ died for us.

In writing this letter to the Romans, Paul was addressing a people to whom this was very true.  When Christ died, the people of Rome were totally clueless to what was happening in Jerusalem.

Their salvation was being purchased at a great cost.  Yet, it would be years before they would hear the Good News.  It’s good to know that I didn’t need to see this work being done in order to receive the benefits of it.

As a Pharisee living in Jerusalem, Paul may have met Jesus or heard Him speak.  Paul might have even been one of those at the foot of the cross, ridiculing the Lord.  But at Paul’s worse, Jesus was dying for this Pharisee’s salvation.

How could we ever think that God would abandon us now?  Put your trust and hope in the love of God.  Never let the cares and problems of life overwhelm your knowledge of His great love, concern, and care for you.

Question: How have you experienced God’s loving concern for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 15, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Love Pressure

Love Pressure

In my last few posts about the book of Romans, I’ve been talking about the power of God at work in us.  We’ve seen that there’s a process that begins when it’s initiated by our faith in God.  It brings us from faith to an experience of God’s glory.

Paul continues this thought.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:5

Paul now brings us to the greatest power in the universe – love.  That’s the place the Holy Spirit is bringing us to.  His desire for every believer is for us to walk in love.

Love is the spiritual pressure placed upon us to produce change.  It was what compelled Christ to minister the way He did.

Actually, I can’t think of any more powerful force in all of life other than love.  For the love of God, or another person, we’ll do things that we might never have done under ordinary circumstances.  Love is a driving force in many of the things we do.

God’s love that He pours into our hearts is the source of our spiritual power.  The same love that drove Christ forward is now placed within us.  When we had no power, God saved us by the death and resurrection of Christ.  He has plugged us into His power source.  The very love that pressures Him can now drive us forward to bless others.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

It’s Christ’s love that should empower everything that we do.  We need to take inventory of what drives and motivates us.

Do you feel a pressure that drives you to reach out to the lost?  Does love compel you to be a blessing to those around you even when you don’t feel like it?  Do you have a compassion for those who are in need?  If not, then you haven’t tapped into the love of Christ.

It’s so easy to say, “I love the lost and I want to see them saved.”  But if there’s little or no pressure to do something about it, then that’s a sign that there’s little or no manifestation of God’s love.  The verdict is simple, no love, no power.

If you want to see this principle in action, just look to the early church in the book of Acts.  They felt the pressure of God’s love to the point where they were willing to die, if necessary, to bring salvation to those around them.

In my last post, I talked about our faith being proved as genuine.  I believe that walking in the love of God is one of the proofs of a genuine faith.

We don’t talk very much about God’s approval of life and ministry.  We seem to think that we can just do what we please and ask God to bless it.  After all, we’re doing it for the Lord.

No.  On the contrary, it’s God’s standards that we need to aspire to.  It’s found again and again in Scripture, if we look for it.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

We must do what it takes to live in intimacy with the Lord.  Only in this way will His love increase in our hearts.

Question: How much of the pressure of Christ’s love do you feel within you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 13, 2021 in Anointing, Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God’s View of a Sinful World

God’s View of a Sinful World

I’m continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  We’re now about to enter one of the most controversial sections.  I have to be careful in how I explain it.

This passage of Scripture is not controversial because we argue over what it means.  On the contrary, the meaning of the words is very clear.  We argue over whether or not to believe it as God’s Word.

Personally, I choose to believe everything in the Bible as written.  That being said, I also believe that there’s no place in the Christian life for self-righteous hatred, bigotry, or condemnation.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Romans 1:26-27

The first thing to note is what this passage is and is not saying.  Too many Christians grab this verse and run with it to attack others. That’s not the purpose.

We have to remember that everything in Scripture is based in God’s unfailing love.  There’s no one outside of God’s love.

Even in this section I see the grace and patience of the Lord.  There’s a phrase that’s repeated three times – here, in verse 24 (which we looked at in the last post), and in verse 28.  It reads, God gave them over.

That literally means that God surrendered or yielded to their desires.  In other words, God allows us to do what we want to do.  He doesn’t stop us, even if we head in a wrong direction.  He gives us the freedom to choose our own path.

Another issue we need to understand is that sin is about actions and not desire.  In my flesh, I may want to do wrong, but the spiritual battle isn’t over until a final decision is made.

Of course, that brings me to an important point…what exactly is sin?  When people hear that word they immediately think, “Evil”.  But the truth is that sin isn’t always evil or bad.

The literal definition of sin in both the Old and New Testaments is to miss the mark.  God holds up the ideal of the perfect life.  We strive to reach it.  But, when we miss God’s best, even by a little, that’s sin.

The Bible is clear that all sin is the same in God’s eyes.  It all comes with the spiritual death penalty.  There’s no grading on a curve.  A white lie and murder are equal before the Lord.  That’s why we need a Savior who carried all of our sin to the cross.

As human beings we like to assign different values of severity to sin.  We think some are worse than others.  Because of this, we’ll vocally attack some lifestyle choices, while we nurture others.

Case in point – before the pandemic you would have to stand in line to get in a buffet restaurant on a Sunday after church services conclude.  We would happily join someone with a gluttonous lifestyle, as they satisfy that craving.  (I can say that because this is one of my personal battles I’m trying to overcome in my life.)

Finally, we have to realize that we’re all under God’s grace.  There’s no condemnation until the final judgment when Christ returns.

STD’s are not God’s judgment on alternate lifestyles.  Just as heart disease and cancer aren’t God’s judgments on overeaters and smokers.

Yes, as Christians we need to know what actions the Bible labels as sin.  But we also need to walk in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s what our dark society needs right now.

Question: How do you show Christ’s love to those who are not living by God’s standards?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 4, 2020 in Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Giving by Desire

We’re continuing to look at Paul’s exhortation on giving in his letter to the Corinthian church.  A while earlier they had promised to give an offering to the churches in Judea who were experiencing a famine.

He’s now encouraging them to continue with their plans.  In my last couple of posts, Paul gave testimony about the giving of the Macedonian churches.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
2 Corinthians 8:8-9

In listening to Paul’s words, we can get a fresh perspective of how offerings work; or at least how they should work.  Remember, he’s talking about offerings and not tithes at this point.  (Tithes are the first 10%; offerings are over and above that point.)

What we have to realize is that Paul is an apostle, called by God to establish and maintain the churches under his care.  As such, he had the authority to command them, if that was God’s will.

However, he made it clear that he was not commanding them.  Offerings must be given out of love, not obedience or guilt.

He wanted them to prove themselves.  Paul wanted them to see their love in comparison to others.  According to the apostle, the true test is the speed at which you fulfill your promise.

But now we come to the verse that brings on many arguments.  Paul uses Christ, Himself, as an example.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

The words used for poor/poverty and rich are very important.  First, both the words poor and poverty means being absolutely and publically impoverished.  I believe that hanging naked on a cross is the definition of this.

On the other hand, rich means to be abounding in money and possessions.  That’s where the problem comes in.  I can hear it now.  “Oh no!  Another prosperity preacher.”

I do believe that God wants His people to prosper but listen to the Biblical definition.  True Biblical prosperity means that God abundantly supplies all I need to fulfill what He’s called me to do.  Then, on top of that, He blesses me with even more so that I can be a blessing to others.

But I digress.  The issue is about the willingness to give.  Paul gives a summary of this thought.

And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.  Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.  For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:10-12

Question: What are your attitudes toward the giving of offerings?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ministry Qualities Part 3

This is the third in a series about the earmarks of a godly ministry according to the Apostle Paul.  He wrote about them in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

…in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:6-7

My last post ended with patience.  Now we’ll continue on…

Kindness – This is a quality that most believers don’t understand properly.  For a detailed explanation, click here.

Simply put, kindness is not just a matter of doing nice things for people.  In God’s eyes, the definition of kindness is; doing good to those who absolutely don’t deserve it.

Our problem is, when someone is doing wrong, we want to see them punished.  Of course, when we do something wrong, we want to be forgiven.

We need to spend time with the Lord so that we can pick up the same heart that he has.  In that way we can show the love of Christ to all people – even those we label as “undeserving”.  We must see others as the Father sees them.  They all have great potential in Christ.

In the Holy Spirit – This is probably the most important one.  Many of the qualities we’ve looked at so far are impossible to maintain in our own strength.  We need the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

That’s how the fruit are produced.  We must remain in the vine – Christ Jesus.  Time spent praying in the Holy Spirit is never wasted.  It changes us more and more into the image of Christ.

Sincere Love – This is a big one!  The literal Greek reads love without hypocrisy.  How can we do that?

This verse is talking about agape-love.  This love is a choice; there’s no emotional involvement.

So if I show love – doing something good – for someone I really don’t like, isn’t that hypocritical?  Good question.

Actually, that’s not being hypocritical; it’s being obedient to the Lord.  Hypocrisy would be to do something nice for them now, then gossip about them when they’re not around.  We’re to show people love and respect whether we like them or not.  This also includes whether they’re physically present or not.

This is another reason why we need the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives.  Without His influence, we could never hope to live up to these godly qualities.

Question: How have others treated you with kindness and love in the past?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,