Marks of a True Christian – 8 Rejoice….Mourn

 But Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12.9-21

Today, Rejoicing and Mourning are both inescapable parts of human life. In Eden prior to the Fall, mourning did not exist for all was total harmony between Adam and Eve and God their creator, and the Book of Revelation tells us that a day is coming when there will be no more mourning for there will be no more death or anything else that causes grief sadness (Revelation 21.4).

This great future to which we look forward is assured because death was defeated at the Cross, and guaranteed as Jesus rose triumphant from the grave that could not hold him but until Jesus returns we still live with death, while rejoicing that that day is coming.

As believers therefore we have to hold the two in tension showing the world that in all the brokenness and mess there is something to rejoice about and our greatest joy should be in sharing that news with others who have no hope. We should be seeking every opportunity to do this and also to rejoice with our fellow believers in the goodness of God. Corporate rejoicing is important for although as individual Christians we have everything ‘in Christ’ rejoicing is enhanced by doing it together.

The world will mourn over many things other than the narrow meaning of dealing with death and as believers we have something we can and must share with those who mourn, for in mourning what is needed is hope and comfort which we have in Christ but which the world seeks to find in things that cannot satisfy. So we have a role of mourning with those who do not know Christ but as with rejoicing, we have a closer role with fellow believers as we work and serve together both within and without the body of Christ.

Death is a terrible invasion of relationships and even though we have the assurance of life beyond the grave standing alongside those who mourn is a peculiar (in the special not odd sense!) ministry we are called to exercise.  

Again such characteristics of our walk are not easy but they grow out of deep relationships which also are not easy but are undeniably marks of the True Christian.

Let us strive, with the aid of the Holy Spirit to be such people.  

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