Apples of Gold

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Love may abound

'And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.'

Philippians 1:9-11

My prayer for you then it is contained in the words above.

There are many discouragements and difficulties for Christians in this world of ours. The need for Christian unity and love is therefore greater than ever. We cannot expect to find encouragement from the world, however we should expect encouragement from our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We are part of the same family, part of the same body in Christ. We must always remember that it was Christ who first loved us and not the other way about. There is nothing in us that would attract or deserve such love. His love was unconditional.

He came to His own and His own received Him not. He died for those who walked in darkness, who saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. He gave Himself a ransom for many, the Just for the unjust. He laid down His life for His church. Now the church should be willing to lay down its life for Him.

If He had marked iniquity then none of us would stand.

It is all too easy for us to go around with a high and mighty attitude thinking that our church, our way of worship, our lifestyle, our talents are better than others. But is that the mind of Christ? Sadly it is the mind of many in our day, although they would never confess to it.

It is all too easy to find fault in our brothers and sisters, but instead of finding fault, let us try to see the Christ in them and love them for what they are, not for what we had viewed them to be.

The father of the Prodigal son could have torn strips off him on his return, but he didn't. For one who had gone astray would you prepare the welcome his father did? But what about ourselves? Are you and I willing to embrace those who have strayed and fallen away? Do we ever think that we are above a fall or beyond bringing shame upon the cause of Christ?

The very thought makes me cringe!

Let us try to make a difference by showing the love of Christ to others as we walk the walk. The Apostle prayed that the Philippians' love would abound more and more. Well may our love also be seen by all, loving and viewing our brothers and sisters as Christ did.

Instead of our mouths bringing forth nasty, harsh words causing needless harm, let us speak the truth in love, encouraging one another in the way. We all need encouragement, I more than most! If we see others in need then let us do what Christ would do.

I believe that cultivating this type of mindset is healthy. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Many would frown upon such an idea probably because they find it impossible to live with such an intensity of spiritual thinking. It is just too difficult a task for them. For others it is as natural as breathing.

But being sincere and without offence in our lives is not a sign of weakness but of strength. In many cases we simply have to have an attitude that says, 'let others think of me what they will, but let me be like Christ.'

Let us pray earnestly for those who hate us. Let us love our enemies and plead for their souls. Let us love the brethren with a pure heart fervently. Let us love Christ above all.

The Apostle goes on to say a little later in the chapter, ' for me to live is Christ to die is gain.' Thus a question we must ask ourselves daily is this. Am I living today for myself or for Jesus?

Author: Iain Mackenzie  Edited by: Pastor Al Moak