All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
Paul was not among the believers at this point in the story of the church. He missed seeing as an insider the experiences of these early transformed followers of Christ whose hearts and community were so infused with the love of God. His was the afterglow experience, when the initial fire-like zeal had already begun to fade, and when conflicts within the church began to rise. Yet he was touched deeply by the love of God as he described himself as one held in the grip of love, “Constrained” by this love (2 Cor. 5) and indebted to the human race (Romans 1). In a spiritual sense, however, he was present in those early days, and so were we, for the same Spirit of God that moved among the first believers moved within Paul and moves within us as well. A spiritual oneness exists among all Christians, from the first days until the end of the age.
How great is the need today in this world for Spirit-filled believing communities, where love is the rule and the Spirit sets the agenda! Since it was the work of the Spirit that brought about this radical unity and community life, we can expect that from time to time we believers today will have the same or similar experience. The heart and soul of the nascent believing community was committed to the sharing of the gospel, and through the centuries we have seen young believers cast away chances for wealth and advancement in their own lands, to be separated unto the gospel and leave loved ones and all that is familiar to go to places they had never been, to serve people they had never known, to talk about a Savior they had never seen with their eyes, and to inform people of a heaven they had not yet visited. If that is not evidence of the movement of the Spirit of God among His people today, I do not know what is. The reality of the Spirit in our lives and in our fellowships means immeasurable potential for us to be filled with His love, to inwardly feel the burdens on God’s heart.
Christians are those who see a reality that the world cannot see, whose hearts are governed by the love of God and not by the value system of the world. So we love Jesus, and we love His word, and we love His people, and we even love those we have never seen for the sake of their own salvation which they do not understand. We expect to be misunderstood, even rejected and persecuted for the sake of Christ. But the reality of God in this world means that He even uses these difficult moments to purify our faith and mature us in our hearts and lives, or they open up doors to the gospel. We may say with Paul, “For to me to live is Christ” and if we can say this honestly and sincerely then we can also finish the statement, “and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Open up your heart in faith to the God of love and He will fill your heart with Himself.
Lord, we need You and Your insight and knowledge and love. Fill us with Yourself and guide us in the way we should live. Let us touch someone with Your love this week. Amen.