One of the transformations that the church is going through is the metamorphosis into a new creation that has the motivation and ability to love with no strings attached. Our more institutional churches struggle with aspects of this because the business of church requires attenders and givers to keep it all going. However, we often carry into simple/organic forms of church life a similar performance mentality.
Let’s be honest here, while Jesus said that His followers would be known by His love, this is frequently NOT the case.
While intentionality to share the Good News of Jesus Christ is good, it must never supersede the imperative to love people, genuinely, without the motive of anything coming back to us out of some sense of credit or performance-score. The latter is not love!
Someone wise said:
Christians are re-discovering that the heart of the Jesus-way-of-life is not church attendance and a smug attitude toward others, rather it is truly embodying the love of Christ—anywhere and everywhere—in a world that is desperately in need of this love. It is a type of reaching out that is marked by authentic concern for people. (Okay, I wrote this myself in Simple/House Church Revolution).
When Jesus-followers are known by their outbreaks of love towards a world in need, we will again find a fertile environment for making disciples and our gatherings will be filled with vitality and excitement.
Easy to say. But it does require a transformation of our inner heart that can only happen by His grace and powerful love creating this ability and motivation in each of us.
May this Christmas story (the birth of incarnational love) become a reality in each of us this year.