In the midst of the crisis in the Middle East, two stories captured my attention.
“US Doctor working in Liberia contracts ebola”
The news report said, US doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly ebola virus.Dr Kent Brantly was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia, the capital.
I followed the news reports but I often came in on the middle of the news story, for a while I wasn’t getting all the pieces. I heard he had left his job at the Medical University of South Carolina, paid his own way to an impoverished nation, to serve those less fortunate. When there was only one dose of the vaccine available he insisted his assistant be given it.
Although there are many who volunteer for non-Christian charitable organizations, something in my spirit grabbed my attention. I began to wonder if the Dr. the world was talking about was a Christian.
What the world knew at the time, that I didn’t, was that Dr. Kent Brantly was indeed a Christian working with Samaritan’s Purse.
“American journalist beheaded by ISIS militants”
James Foley’s passion as a photo journalist was to give voice to people who hadn’t been able to speak out for themselves. Foley’s dad, John Foley, called his son a hero for shining a light on stories of oppressed people and said that outweighed the danger he faced.
What really gave me cause to pay attention was what those being held with James had to say about him, in the midst of physical and mental torture at the hands of the terrorists.
Foley was a big-hearted, charitable friend, often giving to other captives when they were cold and hungry. His friend Francois described him as one of the pillars of the group, who never cracked even under the most difficult conditions. He was an extraordinary guy, an extremely nice companion in detention, very solid.
Although I don’t know whether or not Foley was a believer, one could think perhaps he was by the way he acted under extremely cruel and unusual punishment.
The actions and character of these two men in the midst of crisis captured my attention.
The reflection of the Son
Discipleship is not about what we do; it is a reflection of who and what we are in Christ.(John 1:14-17,Eph 2:8-9)
This is the reason others want to see proof of the reality of our commitment to Christ reflected in the way we live! The world is watching to see if we really are who we say we are.
Yahushua’ observation of false prophets (Matthew 7:14-23), “You will know them by their fruits”: is also true of His disciples (Matthew 7:14-23).
One mark of a true disciple
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. – John 15:7-8 (ESV)
The branch cannot produce its own life; it must draw that life from the vine. It is our communion with Christ through the Spirit that makes possible the bearing of the fruit.
To abide means to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit. This certainly involves the Word of God and the confession of sin so that nothing hinders our communion with Him (John 15:3). It also involves obeying Him because we love Him(John 15:9–10).
When we are “abiding” in Christ there are special evidences that appear which are unmistakably clear.
You will produce fruit(John 15:2).
Some of that fruit you will produce is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
You willexperience the Father’s “pruning”so that you will bear more fruit (John 15:2).
Yourprayersare answered (John 15:7)
When Yahushua permeates the life and words of the disciple praying ceases to be selfish asking and becomes aligned with the will and purposes of God in Christ.
You experience a deepening love for Christ and for other believers(John 15:9,12–13).
You experience joy(John 15:11).
God is glorified! (John 15:8)
Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). It is not the works you do (which makes one think of effort, labor, and strain) it is fruit growing out of the quietness and unfolding of a life lived for Christ.
Two men found themselves on the world stage, not by choice but by divine appointment. They have two very different stories with contrasting endings. The world watched as their tragedies played out.
Remember the world is watching you.A life that draw attentions from those who are watching, no matter what life throws your way, in a way that causes them to pause and wonder doesn’t “just happen”. It is cultivated. One identifying mark of a true disciple is spiritual fruit, it is proof of the reality of your commitment to Yahushua Mashiach.
By experiencing the power of life changing faith, your life will shine light into the darkness it finds itself in and offer hope to all who are watching.