"If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, no sacrifice can be too great for me to make!"
Charles T. Studd - Founder of the WEK mission
I did that for you!
What are you doing for me?!?
If the phrase "Jesus lives"
were to be believed, the Christians would actually have to grow wings, the congregations would have to burst with strength, their enthusiastic members would have to run through the streets at Easter and shout loudly:
"God lives! Really, he lives!"
Instead, they are stuck in a traffic jam on the highway with everyone else.
from the newspaper: The Süddeutsche Zeitung, 02/30/2007
To live as a Christian – sounds good, but: many do that!
Or is not a relatively large number of people entered in church registers, baptized as children and are even ecclesiastically married, etc.?
The decisive question is rather: "What is it about God?"
We find a first, important reference to this in the missionary commission of Jesus:
... Teaching them to OBSERVE all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
So, what is crucial for a Christian? Does it mean, to have a lot of knowledge about it? Or does it mean, to know the Bible by heart?
That would be quite nice, but in the end it doesn't matter to God !!! KEEPING Gods commandments is crucial!
So it's all about a practical life:
But be ye DOERS of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
The question is now, WHAT should be done? Here you might first - as the Jews loved it - look for all the commandments and add countless additional commandments.
The only thing is: Jesus clearly rejected such a thinking:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Ultimately, God is only concerned with ONE commandment. When Jesus was asked about the highest commandment, he made it clear:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
But what should this love look like?
This is impressively portrayed in the so-called "Song of Songs of Love":
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1 Corinthians 13
But there is more: to love of one's enemy!
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
Are we not God's children or are we not Christians in God's eyes if we hate our enemies who have done us so much harm?
Who can love ones enemies?
Jesus also confirms that the path of obedience is not always easy when he is asked a question about being saved:
“Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He (Jesus) said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
So being a true Christian is a struggle - not a walk! Or why does it say:
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life ...
1 Timothy 6,12
Where should we get the strength from to be able to love our enemies, etc.?
The first psalm says it clearly:
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
So, there is a another important aspect of love for God:
The love for God also seeks close contact with him, and in the close relationship with God it also gains strength!
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Let us now hear an example of this power as it became visible in the persecution of Christians in Russia among the communists:
"A Christian couple was jailed by a KGB officer for their belief in Jesus Christ.
They were sitting in a prison cell with other imprisoned Christians when the door suddenly opened and a disfigured man was thrown into the cell with them. The couple paused: Wasn't that the KGB officer who had thrown them in prison? What happened?
Shortly before this event, a young boy - the son of the imprisoned couple - came to this KGB man with a large bouquet of flowers. He said, "It's my mother's birthday today and I'm used to giving her a bouquet of flowers on her birthday. But now you have taken them to prison, where I cannot give the flowers to her. We are christians. My parents taught me to love my enemies too. Since I cannot bring her the flowers, I will bring these flowers to your wife. It comes with love and from the heart!"
It might be understandable that KGB man, who presumably had never experienced true love of that kind, was deeply moved and that he converted:
for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song of songs 8,6-7
Do we have this love?
Let's never forget: We have to seek close contact with God, and it means struggle and is not an easy going path!
And one more thing: Love is the highest commandment, but there are also other rules that the Bible gives us. Only one thing is clear: if we keep the highest commandment to love God and our fellow human beings, we will almost automatically keep the other commandments - out of love for God. And when we love (someone) everything becomes easier ...