We’re half way through our 30 days. I want to follow up the devotions from yesterday. Yesterday was about not showing favoritism. Today, just the opposite – how to be the loving person God has created you to be. Three simple truths.
#1. Accept everybody.
Have you ever been in a church of spiritual snobs? Do you know why people have a hard time accepting others? They confuse acceptance with approval. There’s a big difference. You can accept somebody without approving of their lifestyle. They may be doing something totally contrary to the word of God, but you can accept them as a person without approving of the sin they are involved in.
Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” That’s the start — If you want to grow up more and more like Jesus you love all. You serve all. You accept all..
Some of you are not going to like Heaven because it’s not exclusive enough. If we can’t learn to get along together here on the earth, what makes us think we’ll get along together in heaven? Accept everybody.
#2. Appreciate everybody.
This goes a little bit further than acceptance. Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interest of others.” Appreciate everybody. Find something you can like, not just accept. Tell them so.
With some people this may require a little creativity. You may have to look a little while. Maybe you just need to value them for their uniqueness. Like Baskin-Robbins — 31 Flavors. What if we were all vanilla? What a boring church we would be! God has 31 flavors of personality and more than that.
#3. Affirm everybody.
Give everybody a lift whenever you can. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up.” When people stumble, don’t criticize, sympathize. Be an encourager not a complainer, not a condemner, a critical person, not a judger. You can encourage people just by smiling at them.
What is God saying in James? The church that accepts, appreciates and affirms people is the church that God blesses. Absolutely nothing can stop the church that’s filled with love. Nothing. Love draws outside people in. I want our church to have a reputation for love. I believe that God is just waiting for a church that will love people unconditionally. He can use that kind of church to spark a spiritual awakening in this valley that all the forces of hell couldn’t stop. It would change the climate of this community for Christ. Nothing can stop a loving church. Galatians 3:26-27 says, “For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We are no longer Jew or Greek or slave or freemen or even men or women.” We’re all the same. There is no distinction in the body of Christ. We are Christians. We are one in Christ Jesus.” Let’s be a church like this.