You’ve heard of racial profiling, but have you heard of spiritual profiling? Can you spiritually profile Christians? How can you pick a Christian out of a crowd? I personally think you can.
Here is what some of my Facebook friends said:
If you look at the entire 16th chapter of Corinthians you see a community that Paul longs to become a true representation of God’s love. Paul identified a Christian as a person that singularly focuses on listening to the Spirit of God, trusts the teachings of scripture, and grows Christ-like by living out their faith in biblical community (1 Corinthians overview). It’s as simple as ABC.
Here’s how that works. A) Our faith is in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and made real through his Spirit that lives in, teaches, guides, and convicts the believer. B) What the spirit does in our life is affirmed in scripture, which reinforces our ability to trust the Spirit of God. C) The Spirit of God’s leadership and scripture’s instruction is lived out in biblical community – the environment where growth takes place.
Paul encouraged Christians to do five things as he closed out the book of 1 Corinthians. If Christians live out what Paul suggested in 1 Cor. 16:13-14, it would be easy to pick them out of a crowd.
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
BE ON YOUR GUARD:
Being on guard requires Christians to be deeply aware of what influences their thoughts and actions. We can’t let the world influence us. We need the ABCs to shape the way we perceive the world. When we are influenced by these three things we can recognize the negative influences and guard against being influenced by anything else.
These things are not inherently bad but that can lead people down a negative path. Here are some influencers: TV, movies, art, music, pop-culture, relationships, social media, politics, religious traditions, social norms, public and private education, poverty, social injustice / justice, self-image, and equal rights.
Do these things shape your thoughts, and actions?
What could God be asking you to do to allow the Spirit of God, the Holy Scriptures, and biblical community to be the primary things that shape your thoughts and actions?
STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH:
Standing firm requires a deep desire, conviction, and trust in God. Each of us face moments of doubt, but God assures us through the ABCs. When they are a priority for the believer it becomes much easier to stand firm in the faith.
How would you describe your personal faith in Christ?
What could God be asking you to do to stand stronger, wiser, and deeper in His faith?
Courage takes risk. If we doubt what we believe the risk may be too great to take action. Paul challenged them to move beyond what they knew, understood, comprehended, or even trusted. He wanted them to reach beyond what they felt capable of doing and courageously trust God to accomplish the impossible through them.
What may God be preparing you to do that seems impossible?
How is your faith risky? How can God eliminate that risk and give you the courage to move forward?
It takes strength to be what God wants, more strength than any individual can produce. This is why the ABCs are so important. We don’t have to be strong alone.
How do the ABCs make you strong?
What could God be asking you to have the strength to be?
DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE:
Love is who we are. It is what we express when we are happy, sad, serving, asking for help, on vacation, working, grieving, watching a movie, or playing with our kids. Love is the single defining characteristic of the Christian life. Love is beyond compassion, affection, or any other descriptive word. This love infiltrates humanity with divinity and allows the created to touch the creator.
How could you allow love to infiltrate every aspect of our life?
If we can spiritually profile a Christian these qualities would be clearly evident. This individual would be focused and protective, standing firm in their faith, strong, and especially doing everything in love.
How can you better connect to the ABCs?
What would it take for you to be spiritually profiled?