The SPICE of Life
In Centuries past, along the shores of the Great Sea in the Roman province of Judea, a Jewish social and religious leader arose amongst the Hebrew peoples living there. It was testified of him by personal and eye witness accounts that he was virgin born, possessed miraculous gifts, and was credited as being the very incarnation of the One True God.
The Jewish religion of the Hebrews had prophesied for centuries that one day their Messiah would come.
Jesus Christ, as this leader was named, proclaimed these prophecies fulfilled by both word and action.
Many believed, but some for envy, cruelly murdered him, betraying Jesus to the Roman authorities as an evildoer and suffering him to be crucified. True to the prophecy and promise of the Messiah, Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead on the third day from his crucifixion. Living and walking amongst his followers for many days thereafter, Jesus Christ proved the miraculous truth of his divinity and purpose, fulfilling the prophesied mission of the Jewish Messiah. Upon ascending back into heaven with God, from whence he had come, many more people believed on him, both Jews and Greeks and others of all nations around the world.
Today, many centuries since that revelation, Christians all over the world continue to believe and follow the truth of Jesus Christ being the Messiah. Realization of the fact of Jesus, his life and teaching, has encouraged followers to embrace a manner of living and belief that conforms to what Jesus Christ, as a living example, would have them do and be.
SIMPLICITY- When Jesus came into the religious society of his day, he witnessed a complex and rigid structure of do’s and don’ts for Judaisms practitioners. Religious leaders and sects had devised many regulations which discounted or nullified the actual Commandments of God. Jesus Christ taught the Commandments from the revisited ideal of action based upon spiritual belief and inner conviction, rather than mere outward conformity. Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Longsuffering, Patience and other spiritual attributes of the human soul were to be the guideposts of his followers living and not just outward compliance to direct commandments. Jesus taught that loving God with all one’s heart, soul and mind, and treating each other how we would like to be treating, loving our neighbor as ourselves, were the great commandments to follow. This plain and simple approach to belief in God and practice of faith diminished the importance of temporal and secular pursuits of wealth, prestige, lavish adornment and ornamentation. A meek and humble spirit, quiet and peaceful worship, and practical , earthy living were hallmarks of Christ’s demeanor and ministry in his personal life here, and became the example for followers of Jesus to this very day.
PEACE-Though the land in which Jesus ministered was subjugated by a foreign military power and government, He taught his followers to live peaceably with all men. “Why not suffer the wrong rather than seek vengeance?” was the message of Christ to all people. He proclaimed that God is the judge and that his justice and vengeance would be had according to his doing and not ours. Jesus clearly taught that the true servant of the Lord God must not strive but be meek and harmless as a dove. This was also another return to the simple truth of belief behind action that he was preaching. It was not enough to say one loved his enemy, but one must actively show one’s love through being a living example of peacefulness. Humility, servant hood and practical self-denial were principles that Christ lived out personally and taught his followers to emulate. This has lead many true disciples of Jesus to lay down their arms of human and secular aggression , favoring love and peaceable acts shown unto their enemies and persecutors.
INTEGRITY-Contrary to the popular practice of self-advancement done in affairs of business amongst people of all tribes and nations in all the ages of time, Jesus taught honesty and fairness to be practiced in all dealings with others. Financially, his followers were encouraged to not seek after wealth, to share liberally what they had with those less fortunate and to provide each person their just due in wages. To governments and debtors, his disciples were to be truthful and obedient. In speech and action, Jesus taught that people should not swear to prove the verity of their actions but should let there word be the standard of truthfulness. Having this testimony, his disciples would gain the reputation of those who deal honestly in financial matters and daily life. Ones word was to be ones bond, not backed up by some vow or oath.
COMMUNITY-During his earthly ministry, Jesus was often crowded by those who wished to be close to him. Some of his followers even dreamed of being seated with him above others in his heavenly kingdom. Jesus Christ expressly taught that those who heed his word and practice it are his true mother, brothers and sisters. Family was denoted by belief and practice more so than blood relation. His disciples were called his friends and understood to be his ‘spiritual siblings’ and family. This concept of brotherhood and sisterhood has been perpetuated in many ways during the centuries since, remaining a vital ingredient to what any organization of Christ’s disciples should exhibit.
EQUALITY-Contrary to the levels of status so often created by people in their societies, Jesus put everyone on the same level of importance and relation to God as their Creator. Many disciples have understood this to prohibit using titles of position or importance in reference to fellow human beings.
Jesus clearly taught that the Holy Ghost, the living Spirit of God, would come and dwell within each person who believed. Being brothers and sisters in the community of those believers, each would receive of that Spirit and Light of Christ within, the truth to know His will for their lives. No prophet, priest or king need lord over them in spiritual matters other than the One, Lord Jesus Christ. Each would teach and prophesy of his truth in and through their lives, even after he returned up into Heaven. Christians the world over and down through the ages of time, have understood this relationship to describe how they should worship and pray and fellowship together in the common bonds of community and liberty in Christ.
The S.P.I.C.E. of life continues to challenge and convince people of all ages to understand and apply the truths of Jesus Christ and his teachings to their daily lives. Whenever Christians fall away from the simplicity in Christ as expressed by his doctrine, they tend to revert to the errors of the religionists Jesus’ original message admonished.
May we each hear what the Spirit hath to say to the churches and be ready to give an answer to everyone who asketh a reason of the hope that lies within us.