We close out our Intentional Series with the reminder, lest we ever forget, our transformation into the character of Christ…is for the sake of others.
As we grow through transforming grace into conformity to Christ we become like him…whose life was given unconditionally for others, whose heart was given over to compassion for the poor and suffering (2,100+ verses!). In fact, our spiritual formation is aborted or at least infantile if it does not find its greatest expression in love for others. James 1:26-27 states, “Anyone who sets himself up as ‘religious’ by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world” (TM). Too often those in the church have been more concerned about how people behave than how they are treated.
A genuinely Christian spirituality is not only rooted in a growing, deeply held friendship with God but must also be lived out incarnationally in our world. Ronald Sider wrote, “Knowing God is inseparable from caring for the poor. Of course, we dare not reduce knowing God only to a concern for the needy as some radical theologians do. We meet God in prayer, Bible study, worship-in many ways. But if we do not share God’s passion to strengthen the poor, we simply do not know God in a biblical way.”
The incredible thing is this…as we search the face of the oppressed and the broken, we are very likely to encounter the Holy Face and find ourselves healed as well.