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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Funnel Up"

Date published: 02/09/2017
Matthew 5:44-45a, 46a “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” (NIV)  

   We live in a polarized society where people find it increasingly difficult to communicate with, much less love, those with whom they disagree. Etiquette 101 stipulates you do not talk about religion or politics with other people. Many church groups operate under the mantra of not discussing politics. All of this is done in order to maintain civility and unity. Choosing to live this way can lead you to live contrary to two important desires God has for you: 1) Place love first. Love not just those that love you, but also the unlovable – even those that persecute or disagree with you. 2) God wants you to go where there is need. 

   Once you buy into the world’s rules, you may begin to thwart God’s call for you in Matthew 10:6-8a10: “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (NIV) The world’s rules neglect love and shun the spread of God’s love. Your heart should be less concerned about what someone has done to you and more concerned about asking God to help you love them. Your heart should draw you outside of the safety of friends into a hurting world that needs Christ. The more your life is about you, the less your life will be about Christ.  

     Matthew 10:39 gives the secret to living this way, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (NIV) You cannot battle right and wrong, unjust treatment, and the hand that life has dealt you. Once the issue becomes a discussion about right and wrong, you have turned from the gospel of Christ to the world of self. The world of self is a devolving funnel to hopelessness, while the gospel of Christ is an evolving up-funnel into the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom equips you to love persecutors, have compassion for the hurting, and have insight into the desperation of the lost. God will give you eyes and ears to minster to people wherever they are, regardless of your optimal timing, preparedness, cost, and equipping. We have to learn to live life the way the widow did in Luke 21:3-4: “‘I tell you the truth,’ He said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” (NIV) God transcends the world’s flat line thinking that we can live for Christ when all the parameters of our life align. God calls you instead to live in an abandoned, wholehearted way that places all your trust in Him.  

Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (NIV) 

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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Transformation 2” and “Discipleship.” 

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