Devotion for the week of 4/28/14-5/4/14
You’ve always heard what it means to be a Christian; you know what Christians believe. But when you encounter people who claim to be Christians but don’t seem to act like they are, you may wonder if they really are a Christian. The Bible gives us guidelines on how Christians should act. Not only can we use them to shape how we act, but we can use them to distinguish who around us is really a Christian. True Christians should be loving (Ephesians 5:2), humble (Philippians 2:5-8), forgiving (Ephesians 4:32), and obedient to God’s will (Proverbs 3:5-6). You should be able to see in them that they are transformed by Christ in them (2 Corinthians 3:18). Then there’s the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). First, and most importantly, is love. As I touched on earlier, Christians should be full of love. They should strive to love others just as God loves others. Second, is joy. Christians should be joyful. That doesn’t mean happy. Joyful and happy are two very different things. Being joyful means to be glad about what you experience, knowing that those experiences make you who you are. Being a Christian and having Jesus in your heart should make you joyful. Third, is peace. Christians should be peaceful since they have the Holy Spirit in their hearts who is giving them peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Fourth, is patience. As Christians, we should be more patient since we should have faith in God’s perfect timing (Ecclesiastes 8:6). Fifth, is kindness (Proverbs 11:17). If someone who claims to be a Christian is a mean person, that’s a sign that they probably aren’t a Christian. Either that, or not a very good one. Sixth, is goodness (Galatians 6:10). We should be good to one another. Seventh, is faithfulness. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says that Christians walk by faith, and not by sight. To them, believing is seeing. Eighth, is gentleness. We should witness to others gently, without forcing our beliefs on them (2 Timothy 2:24-25). Ninth, and last, is self-control. Proverbs 16:32 says that those who control their anger will be better off. In short, Christians are different than others, so they should act different. How they act should make them stand out, in a positive way, in contrast to the heathens around them. God wants us to be in the world, but not of the world.