Imagine yourself in a faraway country, speaking about the grace of Jesus around you.
There, you are charged with treason by the Government of this country!
You are arrested, they put you in jail.
• What would be your reaction in this prison?
Then one morning you hear that they have decided to transfer you to another jurisdiction to judge you.
So you embark on a boat to get there.
Suddenly a storm rises, like on this picture, you don't see the sun for weeks. The sea is more than raging.
For more than ten days you can’t eat anything for you are so much rocked in the waves out of control!
• What would be your reaction on this ship?
For days and days, the hull of the boat gets hit more and more by violent waves. You hear the structure of the boat dangerously cracking.
Suddenly it is the wave one too many, the water gets in the boat, it begins to sink!
Very quickly you realize you are in the water trying to swim the best as you can, perhaps to reach a lifeboat near. It's hard, the waves pass over your head and sometimes overwhelm you.
• What would be your reaction at that time in the water, in open sea?
Eventually you arrive in a safety canoe, you and your companions manage to join the shore.
You get out of the water, it's cold and it’s winter season. Then you say: "Finally, I’m out of the water!", but then it starts to rain, and humidity freezes you to the bones.
The inhabitants of this island come to you, they are very welcoming, and light up a bonfire to warm you up.
Then an idea comes to you: "I'll take some wood to keep the fire going”.
But when you take that bunch of wood, a deadly snake bites you on the hand.
• How would you react with this snake hung by its jaw at the end of your arm?
• Would you start to say: "it's really a bad day! I'm fed up! ».
• Or maybe would you say: “ Oh my God, what's happening? Did you abandon me? “.
After the bite, the power of the Holy Spirit would have prevented contamination of the venom in your body.
There, exhausted, you lay down maybe on the sand, having already exceeded the human limit of your strength. Suddenly this thought comes back: you are on the road to be judged, perhaps even be imprisoned for life.
• What would be your reaction?
• Would you fall into a depression?
• Would you tell God to take you to heaven now?
• Would you have a breakdown?
After a while the leader of the island invite you to enter his home and introduce his sick father to you. After praying for his recovery, they bring to you all the sick of the island to be prayed for. Perhaps hundreds of people to whom you need to pray for, one after the other.
• What would be your reaction? Would you say: “ I'm tired, stop, enough, I’m done, too much is too much!. I should think about me first. Hey guys, you want me to tell you what my last three weeks were about? It wasn't really a holiday times! . In addition to that, I am wrongly accused, I'll be judged soon, and maybe imprisoned for the rest of my life. So about your sick people, sorry but I have something else in mind at the moment!".
• Or would you put others before you? saying: “ Thank you God because you have preserved my life in all these situations one after the other. I am in you and you in me, I have your nature. So I know that you love, and I want to love like you. Thank you for this opportunity you give me to pray for all those sick people, and especially to take the opportunity to tell them about the grace that you have made available in Jesus. Wooow... it's going to be great! ».
You can read this story in Acts 27 and 28.
Paul was focused on others. He understood that it was not for him to take care of his own life, but that his Father cared of his life for him. His neighbor was before him, before his own comfort, before his security, before his moral and physical tiredness.
This is how the Christian life has to be taken: loving my neighbor as myself, by putting the needs of others at the same level as my own needs.
There is nothing exceptional to do so, it was only the normal Christian life...
Does your life look like this kind of example of love for your neighbor?
You have the choice to forget what you’ve just read, or to integrate it into your life... God will love you equally in both cases.
But one or the other will show you if one can call you “As Christ”, that is to say a Christian.
Bye for now.