Why Public Displays of Affection are the Essence of the Christian Faith

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May 4, 2014

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

CONSIDER THIS. . .

Let’s begin with an incisive comment on this text by our tutor, John Wesley:

Love cannot be hid any more than light; and least of all, when it shines forth in action, when you exercise yourselves in the labor of love, in beneficence of every kind. As well may men think to hide a city, as to hide a Christian; yea, as well may they conceal a city set upon a hill, as a holy, zealous, active lover of God and man. . . . Sure it is– that a secret, unobserved religion cannot be the religion of Jesus Christ. Whatever religion can be concealed, is not Christianity. p.77-78

Let me bring it to a sentence: To follow Jesus means we consistently demonstrate extravagant public displays of affection toward others.

What do I mean by public displays of affection? I don’t mean to reference college students making out in a public park. Take a quick speed read through any one of the four Gospels, highlighter in hand, and note all of the goodness Jesus does to others in public.  Those are public displays of affection. The ultimate public display of affection is the Cross itself.

Now with that same highlighter in hand, think back through yesterday in your life. Were there any “highlight-able” public displays of affection? Yesterday? I would have to answer that question with a big fat NO. I think I assume I am doing this, but upon closer inspection, . . . probably not so much.

The good news? I’ve got another chance today. I think I’ll carry that highlighter in my pocket as a reminder.

P.S. One of the great John Wesley quotes of all time that he didn’t actually say— BUT ITS STILL AWESOME– is this one:

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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