[CF Devotionals] 2013-02-06 - Teachers in Tuxedos

Our family members enjoy watching penguins at conservation-minded zoos, and I recently read something about them, that reminded me of how we Christians should be living out our faith. Did you know that penguins form huddles of 1000s of non-parent penguins, who in what are called creches, and protect the chicks while their parents are seeking food for them? The penguins, who live in habitats where temperatures dip to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, huddle together not only to protect the chicks and themselves from the frigid cold, but also from predators. The adults take turns being on the colder outside, versus the warmer inside of the huddle.

The penguins do all this naturally - by instinct. But we Christians sometimes have to train and remind ourselves to look out for one another, don't we? In the New American Standard Bible, allegedly one of the most literally-translated, the phrase "one another" is mentioned 146 times. There are many references about how we should relate to each other in different circumstances. This is, of course, not exhaustive but below you will find some of the Bible's instructions (NASB) to us about how we should inter-relate with one another:

Our communication with one another should be of a loving, encouraging nature - and not a discouraging one. We should be lifting each other up, rather than tearing each other down.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

We should be helping each other, strengthening one another in our Christian walks:

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Our treatment of one another should be distinctive from what is happening among non-believers.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

We shouldn't consider ourselves any better than our fellow Christians; we can all learn from one another, but we should be mindful of how our behavior can affect our weaker brothers and sisters, who may be struggling with legalism -in other world, following rules and "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" that are not in the Bible, but rather man-made.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this: not to put an (Romans 14:13) obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Gal. 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

There are elements of worship that will nurture our faith and honor God. Please note that there are no "good or bad" music comments, no instructions about particular worship styles being preferable, simply instructions that we should do it with one another! : ) All these preferences are what someone has called "nickel" issues, and not worth useless arguments (to paraphrase Paul).

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.

Of course, as always in the Bible, the instructions can all be fulfilled, by living a life of love:

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 Peter 3:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB) To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.

I hope you will all enjoy me in trying to better emulate God's tuxedoed creatures, who have so much to teach us.