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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Witnesses Unto Me JUNE 19


I am a free man and own no master; but I have made myself every man's servant, to win over as many as possible. 1 Cor. 9:19, N.E.B.

It is time to take the Christian offensive in love. There is no profit in bracing ourselves, warding off the blows and the words we do not like. By the grace of God and the love of Christ we must turn the battle around, loving our enemies and those who do things against us. We cannot turn our lives into some sort of fortress as a means of self-defense. We cannot continue protecting ourselves against hurts and insults and injustices by reacting in the same spirit.

The love of God in our hearts is God's kind of security. That is how Christ faced the opposition and the hostility of men. We do not need anything more than that. Selfishness is always defensive. Love is outgoing and puts first the welfare of the other person.

We are not here to save face, position, or prestige. Our lives are renewed in Christ for one reason: to pour them out for the healing and transformation of others. Pride will not accomplish that. Rejection will not do it.

The spontaneous love of Christ in our hearts makes us aware of the deep needs of others. We go forth to meet people each day without thinking about ourselves, pouring out the loving-kindness born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. People seeing us will their say, "This man had reason to be resentful, but he was not. This woman had reason to become angry, but she did not. This young person had reason to get bitter, but he did not."

Christ's way is the way of patience, long-suffering, compassion. We are to travel this way with those both inside and outside the church. In face of all the abuse He received, one of the supreme moments in the life of Christ came at the cross: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Christ took people captive by His love. It was not only His teaching. It was more than that. Those who are captured by the love of Jesus Christ do not want to be free from it.

There is a price to pay to be this kind of person. Maximum value in the cause of Christ is never achieved at minimum cost. It requires that we be genuine Christians, loving and radiant, because people really matter most with us.

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