CHRISTIAN GROWTH IS MEASURED BY LOVE

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:9-11

Christian growth is built upon the foundation of God’s love. This love is the sacrificial love that God showed when He gave His Son. It is the same love Jesus showed when He went to the cross. It is the same love that God tells husbands to show to their wives. It is not sexual love, it is not emotional love. It is sacrificial and giving love. Christians can only grow by demonstrating love. These marks of maturity are ways that a Christian exhibits the love that God called us to share with others.

This is a prayer for maturity, and Paul begins with love. After all, if our Christian love is what it ought to be, everything else will follow. He prays that they might experience abounding love and discerning love. Christian love is not blind! The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment. Paul wants his friends to grow in discernment, in being able to “distinguish the things that are important.”

Christian love must be rooted in wisdom from God’s Word if we are to love both God and man in greater ways.

Paul is praying for the Philippians to have spiritual eyes to see with spiritual insight into the lives of people around them regarding how they were to apply God’s love. Knowledge and discernment must be kept in balance. Both are equally important. Grow in too much knowledge without discerning the Holy Spirits leading and a Christian’s love becomes too hard, unteachable, and legalistic. When a Christian learns from both the head and the heart, the Word and the Spirit, then the Christian has balanced growth.

I pray that in these last days as persecution of Christians increases we may be able to show the love of God to those that the Holy Spirit leads us. Jesus told us that the harvest is ripe but the workers few. I pray that you and I will be among the workers called. It will be a difficult but rewarding task as we will know the Holy Spirit’s leading. We will know we are in the centre of His will for us and nothing else will matter.

POWER IN KINDNESS AND LOVE

Oscar Amaechina is president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, a group that seeks to take the Gospel and the love of Christ to African towns where people have never heard about Jesus and to make them realize that His return is imminent. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to evangelize the African continent in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Amaechina told The Christian Post recently about a group of people he once encountered on a challenging mission field in Nigeria.

“We were ministering to people, and some people came to kill us. They confessed that they were there to kill us,” he said. “We saw them with their guns and machetes, and we believed that that was our last breath.”

Amaechina and those with him assumed they would face almost certain death — but then something incredible happened.

Rather than cower, beg, or panic, he and his fellow missionaries decided to do a kind act for the assailants. They provided them with food and resources, and it changed absolutely everything.

“We gave them rice, gave them spaghetti, gave them cream and soup … and they moved away from us,” he told The Post. “They returned, and one of their leaders spoke to us through an interpreter and said, ‘We were here to kill you. Since we are poor, no one has ever given us gifts, but because of these gifts, we want to become Christians.’”

So, not only did Amaechina and the group secure their survival, but they also saw those who came to kill them experience heart change and transformation. He said he “couldn’t believe it.”

“We led them to Christ. It was wonderful, it was awesome, and it was an eye-opener,” he said. “Since that day, we have never resisted showing kindness. There’s power in kindness and love. And that is what we believe in ministry.”

Amaechina’s story is a powerful reminder of the life change that is possible when Christians live out Jesus’ command to “love God and love others.”