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 (Manna 18)
A Believer’s Virtues
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A Believer’s Virtues

            The apostle Peter said, “... make every effort to add to you faith, goodness ...“ James, who was a pillar of the church, also said, “... faith without deeds is dead.”

The qualities that a Christian must possess are many. Like a string of jewels are these qualities recorded in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 12 verses 8 to 16.

1.      In Giving, Give With Sincerity

A disciple should constantly give to the needy (Gal ). Those who are wealthy should contribute more to the needy and be rich in good deeds (1 Tim ). Those who are less wealthy can still contribute according to their ability. The Macedonians were able to contribute even in their ‘extreme poverty’ and they did this ‘beyond their ability’ (2 Cor 8:1-4). Cornelius and Dorcas were generous to the poor (Acts , 10:2). They were remembered by God and received special blessings. However, giving must come from a heart of love and truth, not from a desire for worldly reputation. It is necessary to love your neighbor as yourself so that your giving may be righteous.

2.      In Leadership, Govern With Diligence

A Christian must not only be concerned for his own matters but those of others too. He is required to help others. As long as he is able, he must do his best. He who leads is not only concerned for the management of the church’s affairs but is also involved in personal matters of the believers. The Lord Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not Come to be served, but to serve … (Mk ). Peter said, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” and to do so with the strength God provides (1 Pet , 11). This means that we have to serve others willingly according to whatever abilities we have so as to glorify God and benefit man.

3.      He Who Shows Mercy, Let Him Do It Cheerfully

The Good Samaritan is an example of one with a merciful heart and one who renders aid to the wounded (Lk -36). According to our own strengths and abilities, we must help the needy or those who face hardships. We must not hinder the flow of pity from our hearts (1 Jn ). Neither are we to treat as insignificant the help that may be given in answer to a beggar’s humble requests and deny help to such a one. If we are unable to do little good deeds, how are we able to do big ones! The Lord said, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7). It is also written that judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (Jas ).

4.      Love Must Be Sincere

Love that is false is but a show. It is recorded in the book of Proverbs that empty words and superficial gifts are like clouds without rain.

5.      Hate What Is Evil, Cling To What Is Good

First, we need to have the wisdom to distinguish between good and evil following which we must stand firm against evil for good. It is too dangerous to confuse good with evil or evil with good (in 16:2. 18:40). We must distinguish between honourable people and dishonourable people. In this way, we will find success in our dealings and gain an exceeding advantage. Moreover, we need to have insight and discernment or else, we will he unable to see the difference between right and wrong or good and evil.

6.      Be Devoted To One Another In Brotherly love

Treat one another with brotherliness and kindness (Tit 2:5). Interaction between one another goes by way of peace. With the church as God’s house, the element of harmony is love which is the love in the Holy Spirit (Col 1:8, Rom ). Joy, happiness and comfort abounds in the church and there is spiritual soundness in everyone.

7.      Honour One Another Above Self

Everyone should give way to another. As Paul said. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). We must recognize the good points of others. Every believer has a place in the Lord. Even the weakest part of a body is indispensable (1 Cor ). Therefore, there has to be mutual respect for one another.

8.      Be Diligent, Not Having Laziness

The servant who buried his talent in the ground was a lazy one (Mt 25:36). This was covering up the grace which the Lord has bestowed. The servant was a useless one and even what he had was taken away from him. Therefore, it is necessary to be diligent in labour so as to hear fruits For God.

9.      Serve The Lord Always, Keeping Spiritual Fervour

The Holy Spirit is like fire. Fire gives heat and energy. With spiritual fervour, there will be strength to serve the Lord. How then can we stir up spiritual fervour in our hearts! First, we must constantly pray to he filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3,4; Eph ). Next, we must constantly read the Bible and listen to the Word in church. The hearts of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus were burning within them when they listened to Jesus’ explanation of the Scriptures (Lk 24:32). Thus, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible are the springs of spiritual fervour. They give us faith, love, hope and forever maintain our spiritual fervour, enabling us to work for the Lord.

10.  Be Joyful In Hope

Christians experience joy for they are saved. This is the true spiritual joy which can never be taken away (Jn ). It is built upon a living hope based on the promises of God (Heb ). Since such a hope is unwavering, the joy changes not (Phil 4:4).

11.  Be Patient In Affliction

The Lord Jesus says. “In this world you will have trouble” (Jn ). As long as we are in the flesh, we will face troubles and hardships. Our bodies are like tents exposed to rain and wind. We have to expect failures and problems. When we live for the gospel of the Lord, we will face trials and persecutions (2 Thess 1:4. 5). We should endure all the more. Peter wrote that ‘if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God’ and ‘if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.’

12.  Be Faithful In Prayer

The fervency of a Christian’s prayer is the measure of his spirituality. Prayer without strength is a sign of drooping spirituality. Therefore, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing’. This does not mean spending twenty-four hours a day in continuous prayer but when the situation allows or requires we should pray unceasingly. Our Lord Jesus himself prayed with loud cries and tears in utmost sincerity (Heb 5:7). This was because of his deep conviction. Therefore, with conviction our prayers will he heard by the Lord in his mercy.

13.  Share With God’s People Who Are In Need

Although Paul was busy spreading the gospel, he was concerned about the poor.

14.  Practice Hospitality

Though as Christians we do not mix with bad company, we should welcome guests and provide warmth and sincere reception for them. Such hospitality springs from love and a noble heart. Likewise, God commanded the Israelites not to oppress or mistreat any alien because they themselves had been aliens in Egypt (Ex ). Therefore, the Bible instructs us not to forget to entertain strangers with love (Heb 13:1, 2).

15.  Blessed Are Those Who Persecute You; Bless And Do Not Curse

Persecutions will follow a believer as a result of his belief or his work in spreading the gospel. The persecutors are mainly people who do not understand the Word. We can tolerate or avoid them but we must not retaliate at all. Therefore, we need to endure persecution. We ought to know that if we endure persecution for the sake of righteousness we would be blessed (Mt ; Acts ). By enduring wrongs and remaining faithful to the Lord and His teachings, we will surely be remembered by the Lord. As for those who do not believe in the Lord or understand the gospel, they are misled and used by Satan to obstruct the truth and harm the church. We ought to pity these people for they lack understanding. The Lord Jesus prayed for those who caused His death when He was on the cross, saying, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Therefore we have to pray for them to ask the Lord to forgive them, move them and change their hearts. For all we know, there may come a day when they will gain enlightenment and repent. The Lord Jesus asked us to pray for our enemies for they are not truly enemies but people without understanding. It may be that by praying for them, our foes may change to become our friends. In addition, we are not to curse but only bless. This is because man does not have the authority to curse. Even the angel Michael did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against Satan, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

16.  Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice, Mourn With Those Who Mourn

To rejoice with those who rejoice is to express the same feeling of joy towards those who are glad. We must not be jealous because of the well­being of others. Saul became jealous of David when David was accredited with slaying tens of thousands’. In his jealousy, Saul waited to kill David. Therefore, the heart which is poisoned by jealousy is like a scorpion and a snake. The Bible teaches that ‘love does not envy’ (1 Cor 13:4). One who has love is able to express feelings that harmonize with the feelings of others. To mourn with those who mourn is to express condolence or offer help to those who lost their loved ones and those who are sick (Eccl ).

17.  Live In Harmony With One Another

It is very important for believers to be of one mind. Once Paul and Barnabas disputed over whether they should take Mark along with them on their mission. Unable to settle their differences, they separated. However, they did not form their own organizations. Later, Paul still liked to work with Mark (2 Tim ).

18.   Do Not Be Proud, But Be Willing To Associate With People Of Low Position

            It is common to be proud because of wealth and influence. However, a Christian must be humble (1 Tim 3:6).

The Lord Jesus often received tax-collectors and sinners (Lk 15:1, 2). This was to rescue them from sin so that they might receive salvation. By being humble, one will be like the Lord, gentle and humble in heart and able to lower oneself. The gospel of the Lord must be preached to even the poor because all souls are precious to God.

19.  Do Not Be Conceited

He who thinks that he is wise is actually a toot without understanding. Such a person takes pleasure in himself and is self-contented. The Bible warns: “You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am it, and there is none besides me.’ He catches the wise in their craftiness (1 Cor 3:19).

20.  Do Not Repay Anyone Evil For Evil

As Christians we must follow the example of Jesus in being victorious over evil with good. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly (1 Pet 2:23). Another good example is Moses. Moses endured murmurs and slanders but humbly persevered. The authority to repay and avenge lie in the hands of God who is just and shows no favoritism. Therefore do not take it upon ourselves to pay others back for their wrongs. When the time is ripe, God will surely come to show who is right and wrong.


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