Spotlight 05/2018: So that separation never blurs our faith

Distance, time, and fellowship are some of the factors that can influence our faithfulness to Christ. How can our love stand the test of time? Thoughts from District Apostle Michael Deppner from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

There is an expression which says that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It tries to define the beneficial effect of separation of two people in love. Sometimes the expression is used to cushion the grief of separation. However, there is also an expression that says the exact opposite: out of sight, out of mind. A superficial relationship often will not survive a separation.

“Distance is to love what wind is to fire. It extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”

When we are together in the Lord’s house, or when we make a vow before the altar of grace, the intensity of our love is strong. Once we are back to our daily routine, however—sometimes far away from the congregation and from a supporting brother or sister—and encounter temptation, our faithfulness is put to the test. In the past, there were accounts of whole villages being baptised or sealed after having learned of the doctrine of living Apostles. Later, someone else came and proclaimed another teaching, and the whole village followed it. Joseph, on the other hand, remained faithful to God in Egypt, although he was far from his family and friends, and was surrounded by another tradition.

Time also has an impact on faithfulness. A young couple might be ready to swim the widest ocean, and climb the highest mountain. However, with time they will look twice at a small hill or a puddle. Our motivation to remain faithful should have as a foundation a growing love, one that can endure the test of time, distance, and temptation. Love manifests itself through faithfulness. Christ pointed out that it is not enough to proclaim our faithfulness with our mouth. This should also be seen in our deeds, and even in our thoughts—for everything begins in the heart.

When two children are fighting, the parents try to intervene, “Say that you are sorry, shake hands. Do you forgive?” The answer is often a quite sincere, “Yes!” Only hours later, or sometimes even minutes later, it all starts up again. The problem lies in the heart. Even if, superficially, there is forgiveness, the heart continues to evolve in a different direction.

Psalm 101 is attributed to David, and serves as a promise at the coronation of a king. He declares that he will surround himself with the faithful at his court. In our quest to remain faithful to Christ this is essential. May we constantly seek to be surrounded by the faithful, who serve as an example in times of tribulation. Let us encourage one another in the congregation to remain faithful, and let us pray for each other. We seek proximity with our faithful God and with Christ our Saviour, the bridegroom of our soul. Let us never allow any distance to develop between us and the Lord, but let us stay very close to Him.

Photo: ENA DR Congo

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Michael Deppner