Light in the world
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
-1 Thessalonians 5:11-22
As Christ followers, we have been called to a higher mission and it is not just attending church on Sunday. As the sign says when we are leaving the church campus, “You are now entering the mission field.” We, as a group, are representatives of Christ as we go about our daily lives, so everything we do and say reflects the very nature of the Lord we follow.
When life’s struggles or small nuisances impact us, we are still to be faithful to Christ. We need to be especially mindful of the people who do not follow God and would be impacted by our words and behaviors. Some examples might be: people who cut in front of us in line at the grocery store, reckless drivers, those who have differing political views, people who are intentionally spreading misinformation, and people with differing lifestyles, backgrounds, cultures, and values. It is easy to let our ego take the lead, to prove our “rightness” and condemn the “other.” But God did not call us to this kind of righteousness. In fact, we know how Jesus felt about the Pharisees and Sadducees who thought their ways higher and better and more knowing: In Roman’s chapter 3, Jesus called them vipers.
How do we follow through with how Christ has directed us? I think this is especially meaningful in these days and times, because it seems that there is increasing dissonance and tragedy, as well as immense struggles throughout the globe. We must make sure we are growing in our relationship with the Lord by making time for worship, to study the Bible, and to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance. We must reach out to others to support our members and those in need, both locally and abroad. And we should be grateful for those people who our God has sent to us to help us when we are in need. And above all these, we must find ways to love our neighbors as ourselves. After all, it is not by argument or force of will or “rightness” that hearts are changed, it is through the work of the Holy Spirit, in line with God’s purpose. What a blessing for us, that in love and deed, in words, in action and in service, we can be a part of His work.