I believe that there are several habits we as Christians can adopt in our lives to become the type of believer we truly aspire to be. While Hebrews 11 has compiled a list of heroes of the faith for us, there have been many people who have lived since that time whom we can learn from as well. If I were to ask you to think of a person, past or present, who exemplified a life of faith as a believer, you could probably think of a name quickly. Whether they were written about in the Bible, history, or have just touched your life in some way, they have habits in their life that you and I can adopt into our own lives to become that type of Christian.
To me, one of the greatest habits we can adopt is the habit of love. In John 13:35, Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples when we show love for each other. There’s no greater habit than to be able to love others the way that God loves them. To be able to do that though, we have to change the lenses that we use to look at people. We have to see them through God’s eyes and not our own.
The least valuable person on earth is worth enough to die for in His eyes. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love was not dependent on our actions and involved Him doing something for our good. It wasn’t just words.
It’s easy to say you love the least of these, but God is looking for more than words. He’s looking for love in action. He wants us to show His love to a broken world because that’s what can bring healing and worth. He wants us to feed and clothe the homeless, embrace those with HIV or AIDS, and to give grace to those who least deserve it. That’s the kind of love He has shown you and I. We are to do no less.
I John 3:28 say, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (GNB). Having the habit of love in our life doesn’t mean we sit around and talk about the problems in our world. It means we go out and do something about it. You’ll never solve homelessness, poverty, or other things that cause brokenness, but you can do something about it for one person. Andy Stanley said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” Don’t let the enormity of the brokenness in this world keep you on the sidelines. Instead, let the love of Christ help you to run to all the crises in this world with open arms.
As I’m sitting on the roof, watching the sun rise in Haiti, I’m reflecting on yesterday. We arrived to chaos which, if you’ve ever been to a third world country airport is normal. Horns blaring, cars weaving in and out of people, others are trying to carry your bags for you and all the while follow the leader through this crazy maze. We get to our vehicles, load up all our luggage into the back of these quad cab trucks and half of us climb on top of the luggage to ride in the back.
As we make our way through Port au Prince, we are a sight to be seen. Some people wave and others have a look on there face of “Did that just happen?” Red lights and green lights don’t matter. Stops signs are just a decoration on the road. Horns are the language of drivers here. It took me back to my time in Egypt. We fought the traffic for what seemed like more than thirty minutes. I was enjoying it. I must have had a huge grin because the dust in the air caked my teeth.
All of a sudden, we arrive out our first destination. An orphanage for babies and toddlers with HIV and AIDS. Peace. The chaos stopped. I didn’t hear the horns anymore. My heart began to fill with love. My eyes with tears. As I sat down, I was talking with another person from our group. A little boy named Alfred came over and sat in my lap. He grabbed the phone out of my hand and started moving my apps around. Still in conversation, I hadn’t realized that my mind had made no distinction between he and my own son.
He soon ran off and another child climbed on my lap. I kissed her on the cheek, hugged her tight and tried talking with her. French Creole is not a language I speak. While I couldn’t speak the language, I could speak love and life to her. One after the other, the kids came up, climbed on me and it was as if I were home. There was love. There was peace. There was hope. There was life.
There was a book with several of the kids in it. Each page had a picture and a story. One little girl’s mother had died. Her father, who has HIV, went away to live in a tent city. The girl was given to her grandmother who was using her to beg and get money from strangers. A pastor came to her rescue and took her to that home. She’s getting food and the medical attention she needs now.
It’s a lot like us. We were abandoned in our sin. But God came and rescued us from that place and brought us into a place of peace, hope and love. He looked past our terminal disease of sin and brought us in. His Son’s blood provided the ointment for our spiritual healing. While we live in a world of chaos, He brings order and meaning to our lives. He is the One we can trust in a cruel world.