This is becoming more and more relative to my life. As I see the days go by and hear of more pain and agony from our friends, family, and associates, it begins to make sense to me. "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." 1 (I Corinthians 13:11 NLT)
I used to believe that it only meant a change in my attitude about material things but now I see differently. The childish things speak of the world itself. My heartaches and pains are often due to something physical, financial, or emotional but these are fleeting, short-term things. That doesn't mean they aren't real to me. What it does mean is that they are not the true source of injury. There is more going on in this world than our eyes can see or our minds can comprehend. There are powers and authorities in spiritual places that are fighting against the core of mankind, our souls and our own spirits.
Our souls are made up of our will, thoughts and emotions while our spirit exists even deeper within us. There are forces acting upon us that cause us to do things in the physical world in an effort to damage and kill our spirit. I see it everyday when the list of people we are praying for grows longer than I ever imagined it could. The list of people suffering in one manner or another becomes so great that I don't have enough time in the day to pray for everyone. Cancer, mental illness, dementia, heart attacks, strokes, financial stress, hunger, depravation, starvation, hatred, violence, bullying, racism, bigotry... the list of prayers requested from others is staggering. It is at these times that I know we need our savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of these things that I can willfully decide to put aside my personal desires and replace them with love for another.
Just before verse 11 above, Paul wrote in verse 3, "If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." That is where I see us today. We have been living like this for thousands of years with just glimpses of love demonstrated toward each other; most often in times of crisis or devastation. Instead of loving this way daily, we seek glory and praise where we do not deserve it. We seek money and power at the cost of anyone in the world, as long as it's not at our own expense.
Now, Christian brothers and sisters, is our time to pray so we do not become what we hate. We cannot sit by, idly, while anyone is suffering or being left without their needs being met. I don't mean do this for just fellow Christians, I mean we must demonstrate love to everyone. In our hatred of the evil spreading in the world, we must stand firm and lean forward into the battle. We must arm ourselves with the full armor of God to protect ourselves. That armor is meant to be used as we march forward into the fray not to shield ourselves as we withdraw from society. The Word of God is our sword. It cuts sharper than a two edged blade separating good from evil. The Word is Jesus, Jesus is God (John 1 NLT) and God is Love (1 John 2:16 NLT). If my algebra holds true, then that means that the sword in our armor gear is actually LOVE.
We must dig deeper to truly love our neighbors. These efforts in humanism are good, but we can go a step further no matter what we are doing today. If I am serving one today, then I must move on to serve two. If I am giving to three people today, then it's time to give to four tomorrow. We must increase our efforts to share love so that the message of Jesus Christ serves to limit the effects of evil around us. We know that Christ has already overcome, but God put us here to serve by living out that message as our way of glorifying Him and expanding His kingdom.
What more can we do today?