Published June 2, 2015

Paul's Epistle...
("Passion Checkup - Part 3")

We're in the midst of a eight-point "passion checkup" to determine our individual level of passion for Christ and His work in and through our lives. Our first four points addressed our relationship with the Lord and our desire to know Him better through Bible study and prayer. (You can review those columns in our online archive.) Let's continue...

Checkup point #5:  Do you have a passion to follow Christ's example?

In all things, Christ should be our example. His greatest characteristic, humanly speaking, was His love. That's why He came. John 3:16 reminds us of that: "For God so loved the world [that is, the people of the world] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

And we, also, are to be loving. In John 13:34-35, Christ said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Paul echoed that in Romans 13:9: "...if there is any other commandment, all are summed up in this saying, namely, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Everything Christ did was based on His great love for mankind. You could see it in His compassion for others – both spiritually and physically. You could see it in His examples of dealing with others. You could see it in His teachings – showing us God's will. When Christ washed His disciples' feet, He said, "...I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you..." (John 13:15). That didn't just apply to foot washing. It applies to everything in our lives – how we live everyday.

And that brings us to the next checkup point...

Checkup point #6:   Do you have a passion for your fellow Christians?

When Christ taught us to love one another, He was referring to loving everyone – even the "unlovable." He made that clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. But Scripture makes it quite clear, too, that we as Christians have a special obligation to love our fellow believers.

In Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul puts it this way: "I...beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Furthermore, in that same chapter (v. 32) Paul says, " kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." We are to care for and "build up" (edify) our fellow believers in the faith. "Let all things be done for edification" (1 Cor. 14:26b). "Love one another fervently with a pure heart" (1 Peter 1:22). "...above all things have fervent love for one another..." (1 Peter 4:8).

Do you have a "fervent love" — a passion — for the welfare, spiritual and physical, of your fellow Christians? The early Christians did (see Acts 2:44, 4:32). And, in these times of increasing persecution of Christians overseas and even in our home country, we will increasingly need to exercise this passion for supporting, and championing the rights of, our fellow believers.

I'll have the final two "passion checkup" points next week.

- Paul

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