In our little corner of the world, we awoke to the first meaningful snowfall of the season with three or four inches blanketing the grass that I just cut a few days ago. There is an interesting anomaly that occurs when it snows at night; the normally pitch dark early hours of the morning are transformed into a bright-as-day panorama by the reflection of the available light. Looking out the window, one can see everything that is normally hidden under the cover of darkness. Many a nocturnal creature has revealed themselves to me as they padded across the snowy landscape.
The clean, white snow is a common metaphor in the scriptures but one comes to mind for which I am continually thankful:
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;
but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” (Isaiah 1:18-20)
To know that the blood of my Savior, dark and crimson washes me as white as the freshly fallen snow is that for which I am most thankful. To have the Holy Spirit in me reflects the glory of the Lord, pushing aside the darkness in the world wherever he leads me, a humbling task to which I am gratefully called. In the purity of the snowfall, there is much to appreciate…
St. Paul reminds us of our appropriate attitude between ourselves and the world.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3-4)
Following closely in the shadow of our Lord we see over and over as He attends to others rather than himself, giving us the model for our own life of sacrifice.
Required Reading for Every Single Follower of Christ
Go to your library. Right now, this very moment. Scan the titles and covers. Do you find the book shown at the right? Look carefully as, at 59 pages, this slim volume could easily be hidden by larger, more ponderous volumes attempting to convey similar messages. Did you find a book by the same author entitled The Church at the End of the 20th Century? If the answer is no, you must obtain a copy of The Mark of the Christian as quickly as possible. Don’t tarry, for each moment the Body continues headlong into history without absorbing this message we move further away from one of the Lord’s most important messages,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Love is to be our mark. Love within the Body is to be a light that illuminates the world showing that there is a different way, a better way. Each and every action that the world sees, both within and without of the Body, is to marked by this Love. Shaeffer turns our eyes toward the evangelistic purpose of this bond of love in John 17:20-21,
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
And if our actions toward other Christians fall short of this ideal of love? Shaeffer indicates that we should interpret this as a dire warning; the world has every right to judge US as not being true Christians. We cannot expect the world to believe in the truth of the Lord Jesus if they do not see the mark, the distinctive imprint of oneness within the Body. Read this book. Monthly if necessary until your mark is so indelible that the world will not mistake it for anything else.