Today, thanks to brow-beating by non-believers, Christians think love equates to “polite nicety”. Discipline, correction and justice take a back seat to being just nice. So you get troublemakers in congregations who go on year after year because no one has the spiritual backbone to demand a stop to the injustice of gossip, manipulation and people who insist on “being in charge”.

I read the Bible to say that if I really love people two things show up:

  1. I’ll pay the price of doing what needs to be done;
  2. and I’ll fight for the soul of the sister or brother who worships power, status and ego instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (though I prefer Jehovah, Jesus and Paraclete).

Paul had to deal with this issue almost without end. Here is one example of his instructions on the matter:

“Brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we order you not to associate with any believer who doesn’t live a disciplined life and doesn’t follow the tradition you received from us. You know what you must do to imitate us. We lived a disciplined life among you.    We hear that some of you are not living disciplined lives. You’re not working, so you go around interfering in other people’s lives. We order and encourage such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to pay attention to their own work so they can support themselves. Brothers and sisters, we can’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing what is right. It may be that some people will not listen to what we say in this letter. Take note of them and don’t associate with them so that they will feel ashamed. Yet, don’t treat them like enemies, but instruct them like brothers and sisters” (2 Thessalonians 3:6,7 11-15 God’s Word).

Love enough to care. Care enough to be tough. Be tough enough to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Life in one of our 15 flower beds, Aug. 29, 2012

Life in one of our 15 flower beds,Aug. 29, 2012

In a season devoted to gift giving, give the gift of life to those dead in their sins and centred on self. Give the Good News about Jesus the Saviour.

Come to think of it, give it all the time.

“I solemnly call on you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge those who are living and those who are dead. I do this because Christ Jesus will come to rule {the world}. Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach. A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths. But you must keep a clear head in everything. Endure suffering. Do the work of a missionary. Devote yourself completely to your work” (2 Timothy 4:1-5 God’s Word, italics added for emphasis).

May you find the love for a disciplined life to share about life in the Life (“Jesus answered him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ ” (John 14:6 God’s Word).