1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Art compliments of Alicia Rassmussen @ www.hertearshisfeet.art
Hello dear ones, this week we give thanks to the Lord, remembering all that He has done for us each and every day. Rejoice with me in His goodness as we memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 together.
It is God’s will that we give thanks in ALL circumstances. We are approaching Thanksgiving Day where we get to pause and remember all that God has blessed us with in this joyous life. I am so thankful for the family that God has placed me in. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to raise up 4 beautiful children (perhaps more?), I’m thankful for the home we have and the food on our table and the clothes on our backs. God has blessed us! But I’m also thankful for the struggles and trials and pain that I’ve endured up unto this point in my life. They’ve shaped me, they’ve pointed me back to God when I’ve wandered, they’ve humbled me.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Yes, it is good to rejoice in our trials, but what about all of the persecution and injustice that goes unpunished in this world? Or what about evil that is inflicted upon us personally? In our pursuit of justice, fairness, and equality; our anger clouds our judgement and we are inclined to express even greater pain, suffering, and harm to those that harm us. We see this retaliatory behavior in our kids but we also see it culturally and politically. It is ingrained in our sinful nature.
The only way to break this pattern is through our radical and life changing understanding of the gospel. We understand the sacrifice that God made through His son, Jesus, who died a sinners death: homeless, penniless, naked, put on trial in the dead of night, unjustly convicted, mocked, humiliated, and killed. All for loving the unloved and fighting against the religious leaders and elite. He modeled the life that God intended for us. He changed lives and brought healing to the world. Our love for one another is how God continues that healing in the lives of those around us.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him
With that reminder of who we are in Christ, we can read the words of Jesus in his sermon on the mount with more clarity of this counter-intuitive concept of loving our enemies.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
God’s mercy given to us is a triumph over the judgement we deserve. We know that God’s love has conquered death through the resurrection and we get to pass that mercy on to every single person that God puts in our lives. My prayer for us all is that HIS grace and mercy is expressed with gratitude this holiday season in a state of prayer, without ceasing. Be steadfast in your prayers and dependent on Christ to bring the change this world needs. In the process, God will change your heart, filling it with compassion and grace, as you lean on Him for the strength to share His love in this broken world.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
May you be blessed this week as you trust in our sovereign God, knowing that he has conquered sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can rejoice in this, always! Join me in giving thanks to God for this life changing truth.
In Christ’s Strength Alone,