I was reminded today of Colossians 3:17
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NRSV)
WHATEVER you do…this is important because we are not all gifted the same, or have the same plan set out for us by God as others.
Do EVERYTHING in the name…this second instruction is also VERY important as we are to be lights in the world, shining out the truth of transformation available only through Jesus…we’re not just Christians in Church, are we?
And while this verse seems such a basic premise for mature Christian living, in reality it can be more difficult to live out than we may consciously realise.
You see we’re all human and fallible…and when jealousy rears its ugly head, it’s just that…UGLY!
The earlier section of Colossians now becomes very appropriate so let’s now look wider:
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Col 3: 12-17, NRSV)
Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and LOVE…none of this is jealousy!
Yet even in the Church (I am speaking of the body of Christ here, the people) we can be jealous of one another…and people trying to do ALL THINGS, whatever they are, in their life for Christ’s glory can be pulled down by others because without even knowing their passion can challenge some.
Yes, I am writing from lived experience but I love the Church that Christ died for and so I will speak of such things.
I know what it’s like to step out in faith and receive those looks – to receive no affirmation…I’ve experienced my public proclamation challenging others…add to that the fact I am a woman and well…
But I also know Christ understands what it’s like to be rejected…to be considered not good enough or qualified…to keep loving people even though the time would come when they’d crucify or desert Him.
I then think who am I to complain? I am not Jesus and I do not have to face the cross or eternal death thanks to Him! And I am grateful for the people He provides me with who DO ENCOURAGE me!
Spiritual maturity involves becoming the person The Lord knows you can be…it’s a journey with Him, one in which He will continually encourage and stretch you in…He will NOT beat you up and tell you are not good enough, or that you are too passionate for Him, others may, but Jesus will not.
True love from Him and His people will be encouraging for you to pursue what He’s calling you to do and allow you to grow and change…LOVE does not stifle and put you in a box, rather looks at your heart and delights in your journey of growth and change!
People wonder why some churches are dying and others are thriving…and while there are different reasons of course, I know that I want to be amongst genuine people who encourage from a place of JOY…Real joy which delights in another person in love with their saviour, Jesus Christ. No church group is perfect, but one which lives by an idea of, ‘You sit in the pew while I serve out the front and you may only do things which make me comfortable…’ is not one which I believe encourages or breathes life into the Kingdom.
Let’s aim to not tear one another down, life’s hard enough…rather encourage one another and build one another up as Christ does, to strengthen His body for its Kingdom work.
Finally, when we confess our sin in church don’t we pray asking for forgiveness for not only our sinful deeds, thoughts and words, but also for what we’ve failed to do?
Failing to encourage when affirmation can be given, can be just as hurtful as an unfounded hurtful remark…silence can be deafening. Speaking words to encourage strengthens others…encouragement doesn’t stifle people to remain in a box you’re comfortable with it frees them to love Christ even more passionately.
In His service, Melanie.
Let's be His body in ALL it's beauty and joy!