A NOTE FROM PASTOR MARGE
I just had COVID for the first time a couple weeks ago and let me tell you, it wasn't fun at all. Praise be to God that I have fully recovered. Having COVID gave me a lot more empathy for those who have already had it, who have had it multiple times, who are still experiencing side effects from it, or even still, who have lost loved ones from the virus. While I was sick with COVID, I had some time to think about this virus that has completely shaken our entire world over these past two years. Here's the thing about COVID, or really any virus or bacteria or disease that you can possibly catch: you can't see it, can you? We can't physically see with our human eyes COVID or the flu or malaria or yellow fever or strep or you name it. So, this unseen thing gets on the inside of you and then from the outside, what do you see? You still can't see COVID or the flu or strep throat or whatever is infecting you. You just see the symptoms. Honestly, it's a picture of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does to us.
Today, we are going to talk about the symptoms of a Gospel-infected heart. Here’s the thing: I cannot physically see your relationship with God. But when the Gospel gets on the inside of you, just like when the flu gets on the inside of you or COVID gets on the inside of you, stuff just starts happening on the outside of you. When the Gospel infects someone's heart, there are things that just start happening from the inside out. What are the symptoms of the Gospel-infected life then? The apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Colossae tells us that they are compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, thankfulness, and love. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll quickly realize that you need to work on some if not all of these “symptoms.”
So, the question becomes, how can we grow and improve? How can we become more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, thankful and loving people? Jesus in John 15:4 provides us with the answer: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” If you are striving to live a Christian life, if you want to be more like Jesus, quit getting so hung up on the fruit friends! Stop trying to simply be more compassionate for compassion’s sake or kind for kindness’ sake or loving for love’s sake. Instead, get really dialed into the root! Abide in Jesus and he will abide in You. And when He does, the whole world will recognize the symptoms of a Gospel-infected heart.