English: Detail of Religion mural in lunette f...

“The distinctive mark of a monk (Christian) is made clear through temptations.”

——Abba Poeman

The things that persuade us are the things that rule us. Instinctively, we are led away from certain behaviors and towards others. The mark of the Christian is to live in an area that allows us to give honor to God. Honor to God is given in worship, prayer, service, and hospitality. Those four things are not an exhaustive list of all Christian virtues, but at least a place to start. Let’s take them apart in a few statements.

Worship is honor paid to God at its simplest definition. Many times we are tempted not to worship God in an organized or in any other way. “I don’t go to church, and I don’t know one person who does,” says Brian Kenny, 39, who is studying psychotherapy and counseling at Dublin Business School. “Fifteen years ago, I didn’t know one person who didn’t.” In 1980 85% of the people of Ireland attended worship on a weekly basis, now it is less than 50% and dropping rapidly. Untied States statistics are not far behind.

Prayer is communication with God. I would hate to think how little people really talk to God. With growing numbers of people who never attend a church of any kind it would be difficult to expect that prayer would be on the rise.

Service in the way the Abba is using it means some type of assistance or good that is done for someone else. Do we really serve others out of a sense of being part of the family of God? I really doubt it.

Hospitality is freely opening your inner domain to friend and stranger alike. A few days ago I ran out of gas (yes I do stupid things like that) and a total stranger offer me the hospitality of his truck, gas can and gas that was in it. That is hospitality, and he opened what was his inner domain and shared with me without expectation of anything in return. Are you a person who practices hospitality?

I would venture to say that if you are tempted and tried by your reluctance to worship, pray, serve, and practice hospitality you are being marked as a Christian.

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