“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 NASB
I like peace. I like to be in situations where I feel a great emotional comfort, like when I sit and chat with close friends, or just sit quietly and stare off into space. I especially like experiencing this at church. We are a small congregation, and we are for the most part peaceful. Every now and then there are wrinkles that appear that have to be ironed out. We approach one another with love and work to make the fabric of our communion smooth once again.
There is a need to do this. A church in conflict cannot go about sharing the Gospel effectively if everyone is at odds. I have to admit that I have not had to really deal with anyone unruly. In my years at a bigger church, I served as a deacon, and there were several instances when I had to step into the role of “ironer” and deal with people who were creating a disruption.
Fortunately, living in the body of Christ involves more than contending with the unruly. I am an encourager by my spiritual gift. I love to help people and exhort them to better work. I love seeing believers lifted and living by faith and enjoying the peace and joy of being forgiven. They then go out and live as ambassadors for Jesus, rightly representing the King of Glory.
In every church there are those who are weak, those who struggle and have not grown. All too often they are the victims in the world, and sometimes, the victims in the church. I go about my own walk, keeping those weak in mind. I am careful what I say, what I do, and how I conduct myself. Whether I like it or not, I am responsible for the spiritual lives of those weaker believers.
I know that some of them are watching me for clues on what they are to do. Close contacts with them require patience. I am thankful that my God has been patient with me in all the mistakes I have made, and am grateful for all the patient believers that received me in my own weakness.
Growing in the faith is a matter of remembering where you were, what you were like and then modeling those who loved on you. By remembering, you also remember the grace given you. We honor those who extended that grace, by reaching back and doing the same for someone else. In that, the body is kept together, progressing as one for the good of the Gospel.
Bad things do happen. People are offended, there might be a conflict, or perhaps a disagreement that causes brothers and sisters to be at odds. One of that hardest things I have had to do is take the hit, and not hit back. I rest in the security that my Lord knows me. That knowledge allows me to use endure.
We are living in a world where people are quick to get even, quick to seek vengeance. There is no end to it. It all goes back and forth and there is no solution, and only destruction for all involved. I remember that my Savior said little as He went to the cross. He could have spoken everything out of existence, but instead surrendered to the cross for the sins of the world. He will come to judge the world, but He desires many to be saved before then.
Believers, time is running out. Let us be about the Father’s business, and tell of the wonderful salvation that has changed our lives. Let our lives be filled with exhortation, encouragement, charity and kindness, as we serve as ambassadors of the Most High God. May we offer grace in a world where there is little, love where real love is rare, and may we do all with rejoicing.
I have been asked many times why I smile. I smile because Jesus went to the cross to pay a sin debt that I owe. I smile because I am a wretched sinner deserving of hell, now bound for heaven. I also smile because I am free.
Believers, you are ambassadors! Go about your work with rejoicing. Your rough roads have been made smooth. Take the kindness in the church building out into the world. Proclaim the Gospel!