Courageous, Not Religious
Café Menu for Monday, June 2, 2014
Today’s Special is: Love Like Christ
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Robin Jones
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:26-27 NIV
Over and over I rolled the phrase through my mind. “Well it’s simple. It’s taking care of orphans and widows. Wait what about that verse previous to it that says it’s worthless if you don’t control what comes out of your mouth. Wait… what about that verse after it that talks about keeping yourself pure?” Confused, I snapped my Bible shut and asked God to give me a picture of what undefiled religion looks like.
As my mind reeled, my son crawled into my lap with one of his favorite books, The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland.
As I read to my baby, God whispered into my heart, “Here’s your picture, my child.”
If you have never read the book, let me give you a synopsis.
The very cranky Bear was sleeping, alone in a darkened cave. Zebra, Moose, Lion and Sheep took cover in Bear’s cave on a rainy day. When Bear woke, he was unhappy that there were others in his space. He chased them away. Immediately Zebra, Moose and Lion tried to improve Bear’s mood so that they could get back into the cave. Each of them thought of what would make themselves happy and sought to give Bear that type of gift in order to get what they wanted, which was to be back in the cave.
Bear was not happy with these “gifts.” He chased them down and roared, “All I want is a quiet place to sleep.”
Seeing Bear’s unhappiness, Sheep responded by clipping off half of her wool and making a pillow for him to sleep on.A
Like a neon sign, the children’s book revealed the deep theological contrast between worthless religion and undefiled religion that I needed.
Zebra, Moose and Lion based their actions on what they loved (themselves) and what they wanted (to get back into the cave). Sheep based her response not on Bear’s mood or words, but on Bear’s needs.
Sheep did four things: She observed the behavior. She overlooked the affront. She listened to the need. Then she sacrificially supplied the need.
Does that sound like a Worthy Lamb that we know?
Christ’s sacrificial love should compel us to love God and to love people. Our actions as followers of Christ should not be based on what we think, say or want; instead, they should be motivated by Christ Himself.
· Spirit: Pray for God’s love to see another person, maybe a difficult or broken person, as He sees them.
· Mind: Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your mind on how you might serve that person.
· Body: Use your hands and feet to fulfill the needs of that person that the Holy Spirit revealed to you.
Watch The Hairbrush Story by Beth Moore for a perfect example.
Father God, let us be filled with Your love and compassion until it overflows our hearts and through our hands and feet. Lord let Your people be courageous and keep our eyes focused on You as we step forward to DO SOMETHING! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Step out in faith listen to these songs:
Do Something by Matthew West
Love is the Only House by Martina McBride
© 2014 by Robin Jones. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Sunday, 01 June 2014.