Dear Friends, as I write this, I’m filled with mixed emotions. It’s not only leaving our Lincoln Park family but also retiring after many years of ministry that has me deep in thought.
SunAe Lee-Koo’s Pastoral Wish: New Clothes for a New Year
From Pastor SunAe Lee-Koo
When we identify ourselves as Christ-followers (Christians), we follow Christ’s footsteps. In Christ, with Christ, through Christ, we not only receive God’s love but also are empowered to live like Christ, imitating the love of Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches us that love is to be our clothing (Gal. 3:27).
One of the many aspects of love is binding the broken. The most sublime and perfect example of the love of Christ can be understood as a reconciliation, for Jesus Christ came to us to be the bridge builder (Mediator) between God and us (1 Tim. 2:5). In this sense, Christian love is a binding love; binding the broken in the name of Christ through the grace of God.
On the contrary, breaking divisiveness in the name of self-centered myopia is not of God. The Hebrew word Satan means adversary, and its translation to Greek gives us the word Diabolos, from the root dia-ballo, “to divide or separate.” Hence, the meaning of Devil (Diabolos) is “He who places division,” and its derived meaning is “slanderer.” Accordingly, someone who causes divisions and has no love that the Bible speaks of; someone who divides or stirs up divisions in the church is not from God either.
Love is the antidote against the work of the devil who divides. When we prevent any enemy’s scheme of breaking our unity through seemingly valid claims (some truth, but without love), our weapon is the love that binds. Through Paul’s exhortation that we clothe ourselves with love that binds, we are given the right way to fight spiritual battles against our enemy. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness (Col. 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:4-7) are not just different names of love, but of spiritual armor. If we witness that one of us follows the enemy’s scheme and plants an idea of division among us, over different worship styles for example, we need to wear the spiritual armor of compassion against the hurting spirit, kindness against the blaming spirit, humility against the judging spirit, meekness against the egoistic spirit, patience against the upsetting spirit, forgiveness against the angry spirit… with such spiritual armor, we can beat the dividing spirit in the church/among us.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). No one can perfectly describe a Christ bearer’s life, but anyone can discern what is not the life of a Christ bearer.
We, as bearers of Christ’s love, are the witnesses and recipients of God’s gift: Christ who is love. So when we are clothed with love, possessing the different virtues of Christ’s character, we become a small gift to others from God. The characteristic of Christian life is to become a gift. Unlike worldly material gifts that can be sent forward to someone unused, God’s gift can be sent forward only when we are used. If we are not given to other people like Christ was given to us, then we are meaningless gifts.
Think of gifts on the shelf of a gift shop! If it isn’t purchased and given to a special recipient, then it is not a gift, but a mere decoration. A gift is to be given. We, as Christians who have received God’s gift of salvation, the gift of love, should give it to others, rather than leaving it on a dusty shelf. If I call myself a Christian and go to church every Sunday, but no one around me feels any binding love through compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and forgiving spirit, then I am a self-defined gift kept on a shelf; I am but a decoration. If any of us feels like a decoration, it is time to wear love and live in Christlikeness.
If we want to wear these spiritual clothes of love that binds, we have to take off clothes of contention, hatred, short temper, resentment, and unforgivingness. If we cannot take these off all at once, at least we can will. We need to will, because whatever divides and separates us from one another is not of God, but of the devil. Previously, we may have lived indifferently. However, here and now as we open another calendar year, we need to decide which clothes we want to and will intentionally wear.
What to Wear in 2018
against the hurting spirit
against the blaming spirit
against the judging spirit
against the egoistic spirit
against the upsetting spirit
against the angry spirit
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