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A way of life
with Christ jesus
>Psalm57:7< "My Heart is steadfast, O God, my Heart

is steadfast; I will sing and give praise.'' Being a disciple of Jesus involves a life of realism and sharing. We are called to share our live both with Jesus and with other disciples. "know thyself" is an ancient and wise maxim, but the pressures of today are such that many people face an identity crisis: The Christian is not immune from such personal conflicts and being a disciple of Jesus means not an escape from reality, as "some critics suppose," but rather the reverse. Jesus was a total realist. Far from withdrawing from the real world of sin and pain, He was born into it and fully shared the struggles. He was also honest and straight-forward with people. He knew what was in their hearts. Gently He went straight to their greatest needs, whether
the individual concerned knew them or not. In the same way Jesus calls His disciples today to a life of
realism, openness and honesty. We are to take off our masks and be real with one another. We are to walk in the light, as Jesus is in the light; only in this way can we have fellowship with Jesus and with other people. Learning to forgive and accept each other, that the love of Christ will grow within us more and more. When we come to terms with our own true identity, and so enables us to be open and real with one another, as genuine Christian community. Here I am not referring to just a particular lifestyle, I am referring to all
expression of
Christian community.
Just as surely God desires our relationships to be marked with perfect love, peace and joy, He will lead us to a knowledge of a genuine Christian lifestyle. "When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian
fellowship." It is only when we are free to say honestly who and what we are in Christ that we discover our true freedom as children of God. In God's presence we can freely admit our sin, since we know from His word that He loves us and accepts us inspite of our failures. He never ceases to love us, but not until we come to the same point of honesty with one another, we shall never know or experience the true depth of God's love in our lives, or the reality of that accepting, forgiveness and caring love expressed tangibly through each other. When we close our hearts to each other we close our hearts to God. Instead, we should recognise the Spirit of Christ in one another. As we love and serve each other, we are loving and serving
Jesus. There is a sense in which we should try to see one another not as we are naturally, but as what we are and can become in Jesus Christ. If we could recognise the enormous potential that we all have in Christ, we should then encourage each other to become what we are; "in God's eyes, complete in Him." Christian love is like this; 'Agape, is the Spirit which say; "No matter what any man does to me, I will never seek to do harm to Him; I will never set out for revenge; I will always seek nothing but his highest good." This is to say, Christian love, agape, is unconquerable benevolence, invincible good will. It is not simply a wave of emotion; it is a deliberate conviction of the mind issuing in a deliberate policy
of the life. Such love is, of course, perfectly revealed within the Trinity; it is seen in the love that God has for the whole world; it is marked by the motivation of the life and ministry of Jesus; it is measured by His total self sacrifice on the cross. Because of the supreme value of love, it may be helpful to look first at God's love for man, second at man's love for God, then at man's love for man, and finally the characteristics of love itself. The essential nature of God is Love. It is all embracing love, since God desires that all should be saved. God's love is unmerited, sacrificial, merciful, inseparable, and everlasting. God expects the total devotion of our lives to Him who has given Himself unreservedly to us. In response to this, our love for God should be exclusive, it must be obedient, which
is the ultimate proof of our love for one another. It is always in response to His initiative, and is the foremost sign of the Fruit of
the Spirit. "Love your neighbour as you love yourself"

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