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Friday, June 24, 2011

What Does a Christian Look Like?

Shh. . . . Let’s go on a field expedition into the wild to see if we can spot and identify a Christian, otherwise known as a Praisius Alwaysicus.  No physical description of this specimen is available as they are birds of many different feathers.  Their habitat is generally in sanctuaries, although they are frequently seen witnessing in the marketplace and streets.  Their range is world-wide and they have been known to migrate on missionary journeys far from their natural habitat.  Their voice is a beautiful trilling sound, and frequently peals of Hallelujah and Amen are heard coming from their nesting places high in the rocks.  This bird’s most identifiable feature is their love and caring for others as they seek to include them in their flock.  Note:  Sometimes a Purple-speckled Pew Warmer or a Loose-beaked Magpie will show up in the habitat of the Praisius Alwaysicus, they don’t need to be shooed away, just showed the way.  Shh . . . I think I hear a Praisius now, let’s see if we can observe him in his natural activities.
Christians are Christ-ones.  To be called a Christian is to belong to Christ; to be called a little Christ.  The name Christ, in the Greek is Christos, meaning “anointed”.  When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He imputes His righteous nature to us.   His substitutionary death on the cross has bought us this opportunity.  What about those birds who aren’t displaying the characteristics of their adopted flock?  When we are saved, we are given the Spirit of Christ and freed from our past sins.  We are changed from “glory to glory” as we mature in obedience to Christ.  Our display of Christ-likeness depends on how much of ourselves we are willing to give to Him.  Incidentally, He wants all of us.  When a baby bird is first hatched, it cannot fly or feed itself.  That baby depends wholly on its mother for food and protection.  A baby bird’s feathers are fluffy and incapable of flight.  If one were to fall out of the nest, it would cannonball straight downward.  We need to help our fellow baby Christians to grow and develop their strength in Christ, so that they can catch the wind of the Spirit themselves. 
These are some characteristics of Christ that one would expect to see cultivated in His offspring:
Faithful:  I Thessalonians 5:24 “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”
True:  I John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Guiless:  Isaiah 53:9 “And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.”
Obedient: Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is written within my heart.”
Merciful: Hebrews 2:17 “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
Patient: Isaiah 53:11 “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so he opened not His mouth.”
Longsuffering: I Timothy 1:16 “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.”  
Compassionate: Luke 19:4 “And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it.”
Loving: John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends.”
Humble: Phillipians 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Forgiving:  Luke 23:34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.”

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