Spotlight 4/2017: Behave!
Reprimands, pressure, and a stern look—can these measures fire up our enthusiasm for Jesus Christ? District Apostle Leonard R. Kolb (USA) remembers his childhood and finds some parallels.
I was particularly taken by the third task of our motto for this year: glorify God by behaving as children of God. This truly struck me: the Chief Apostle says that we should behave! As though we are little children? It seems the last time I heard that word, it was from my mother shaking her finger at me …“Behave, Lenny!” But brothers and sisters, it is good for us to look at this a little more closely and consider how we truly act.
What does it mean to behave like a child of God? I think you would agree that when we were children we might have behaved because of two conditions: correction/ punishment or reward. When I acted badly, I was corrected, sometimes even punished. And when I did something good, then I saw my parents were happy with me. But these are not the incentives for children of God to change their behaviour. Perhaps, many Christians do. They are afraid of punishment from God and do things out of this fear: “I better go to church on Sunday, I better pray.” Or others wait for a reward: “If I sing in the choir, if I help my neighbour, surely God should reward me with His blessing.”
Dear ones, children of God behave in the right way because they are convinced that it is the right thing to do, the right way to live. They are convinced that the gospel message tells them how to live and conduct themselves in a manner that not only pleases God, but honours and glorifies Him. They are convinced that the source of the gospel, Jesus Christ, knows the ways and customs of His Father’s kingdom and is therefore the best example to follow. By His teaching, they know God is not a God of punishment, but One of love and grace. And they know the reward of salvation far exceeds anything they could ever deserve or aspire to. Hence, they strive to behave as Jesus did.
Photo: Oliver Rütten