In the quiet morning I enjoyed today I was reading the book of 1 Thessalonians. Some of the words and concepts are so simple to me but are strong in the meaning of what the church exists to be and what fellow believers are to one another. It is definitely helpful to know that there are those among me who help me to strive to live a more Godly life. It is wonderful when others who are close to me can walk along side me, encouraging me but also praying for me in the things that I struggle with. These are some of the highlights from my reading this morning:
"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." (1Thess. 1:6)
---I have experienced some suffering in my life, but none compared to those who are daily persecuted or even those around me who have terrible suffering. I am encouraged by my peers who are faithful to our God through these tough times.
"We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (1Thess. 2:7-8)
---I love this passage. This book references both being like a gentle mother and a father who is urging them to do what is right. That is exactly how young children grow into adults and how baby Christians grow in the Lord.
"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."
(1 Thess. 2:11-12)
---Not only uring them but ENCOURAGING as well.
"Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?"
---I am definitely influenced by my surroundings, which can be both good and bad. It is something that I constantly have to be aware of; another reason why it is important to surround myself with people that are seeking after the Lord.
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (1 Thess. 5:23-24)
---I love the encouragement in this passage. It is extremely difficult to be a Christian: but the one who calls us to do so is FAITHFUL.
"And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere."
(1 Thess 1:7-8)
---This was my favorite part. Not only did others around them recognize their faith but it even stretched further. The ones who saw their faith told others and so on.
Am I living in such a way that others see my faith daily? What do I need to change? I can never become complacent with where I am. I love the fact that our God is constant--his love is consistent and NEVER-CHANGING. He doesn't have to change for us, but we do for him.
I am a mess sometimes: I see this; I hate this. I want to spend the rest of my life striving to live up to this calling. One of my big problems is that I hate failure. A lot of times I avoid doing something because I am so afraid of falling flat on my face. This fear will keep me from being called to something that God wants me to do; this is sin. My fear can only be conquered with the Lord, which is comforting in itself. Not only does he call me to do his work but he will help me and walk alongside me; what a comfort and a blessing.