November 23 - Church Member-or Christian?

By Joanna Zeiner

Today's Scripture: 1 Peter 1:14-19; 2:1-3

Central Thought: May we never forget that bearing the name Christian requires actions that match the name.

    It has been said that there are no atheists in Africa. With a general belief in "the gods", it is relatively easy to get Africans to believe in yet one more. It has also been said, "In Africa Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep." Though the church had been in Central Africa for 100 years, in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 it was often church members who lifted axe and machete against neighbors, friends, and even family.

    One pastor questioned, "What is wrong with the Gospel that one man can do such a thing to another?" He thoughtfully continued, "There is nothing wrong with the Gospel. It is still the power of God to save. There is something wrong with the way we are taught to live out the Gospel in our everyday lives."

    Has the Church failed to teach beyond membership? Metaphorically speaking, if scythed wheat is never gathered, winnowed, dried, and ground, it can never become bread. The same is true in our Christian walk. Mature Christians who act, respond, live and love like Christ are not enlisted; they are broken and molded into His image. Am I a church member or a "Christ-like one"? Too often there is a difference—unfortunately.

Devotional Prayer: Father, forgive me for I know not what I do. I call myself a Christian, yet I live my life as if I were my own final authority and not bought with the blood-price of Jesus. Form me into the image of Christ—no matter the cost. The alternative is too high a price to pay for eternity.

Today's Bible Reading: Ezekiel 45:13-46:24; 1 Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48; Proverbs 28:11