For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
I bolded that last part because it’s what has been ringing in my head for a month. Is my faith working itself out through love? Does my faith and hope in Jesus Christ for righteousness result in me loving people? Throughout this chapter, this same theme keeps reoccurring that for a Christian, walking daily in faith produces a freedom to love people. Over the last month I’ve developed a few gauges that have helped me realize whether or not I actually love people.
The Elevator Gauge.
Is there a more awkward environment than an elevator with a mirror? That’s my daily routine. The gauge for me works like this. While I’m in the elevator, am I concerned about the other people in there enough to look up from my phone and say hello? How unloving am I when I don’t even choose to look up and acknowledge the people I share an elevator with for 30 seconds? Maybe you’re thinking it’s not a big deal, but for me it reveals a self-centeredness that places value on myself over others.
As I’ve tried to change this, I was shocked when I asked “How is your day going?” and my elevator mate responded “Really terribly actually.” We only talked briefly, but I thought, “How many people have been having miserable days and I’ve only been concerned about my email or what these people think of me?” It was terribly convicting.
The Cashier Clerk Gauge
This involves my heart and attitude at the checkout line in a grocery store or anywhere that I’m being served. If I’ve left the grocery store or restaurant or wherever, do I even remember the name of the person serving me or did I act like they owed me service without gratitude? I too often get caught up in my own schedule and needs that I treat people as robots instead of as potential friends. For me, this gauge shows me if I’m walking in faith in Jesus or walking in belief that I’m better than others. In truth, I hate this gauge, but man I need it as a good continual reminder that Christ loved and loves me whether I give Him great service or terrible service.
The Celebration Gauge
This gauge evaluates whether I really am excited for the successes of others or if envy and jealousy reigns underneath. When I see my friends or co-workers rewarded, do I celebrate with them or secretly wish it was me or worse, complain that they don’t deserve it. If I’m really walking daily in my faith in Jesus Christ, I find myself caring more for the success of others than myself. I desire for them to achieve their dreams and be able to toast their success. If I can’t celebrate with them, it shows me I don’t really love them.
The Grieving Gauge
This gauge tends to deal with how deeply you or I love someone. Most of us will be sad when bad things happen to people, but will we sacrifice things in our lives to grieve alongside them? In the gospel, we see Jesus Christ who suffers so that He can comfort those who suffer. If I believe that Christ suffered for me and that I am to follow His example, the results should be the freedom to cry and mourn with those who hurt, to try and put myself in their shoes as best I can and whether I can or not, to be sad simply because I care about them so much. Grieving with someone is a different level of love and caring for them. As Christians, we should be the first to grieve with any and all who hurt.
What about you?
These are just instances lately that have served as gauges for my love for people in general. The verse in Galatians has really forced me to consider whether my faith is manifesting itself through love or if I have sunk into a cognitive understanding of belief that doesn’t produce the actions of Jesus Christ.
I’m glad the elevator gauge and cashier clerk gauge happen so often because they serve so well as clear reminders of my need to depend of Christ through prayer and reading the bible so that I think and act differently, so that I truly let my faith work itself out in love.
Do you have similar gauges or situations that show you whether you are loving people? Occurrences that force you to evaluate your faith?