July 1, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Good News of Faith and Love Today
I did not perform particularly well in my classrooms at the University of South Florida, but I did work at dunking a basketball after classes. In fact, I worked on my basketball skills almost every day, because I could no longer surf. When I was growing up, I surfed almost every day, unless the waves were too big for me or too small to push me. At home, I surfed and surfed, and then, at college, I played basketball all the time. In each sport, I often had specific things I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to get better and better at the sport I played, although I was not particularly competitive. I liked to have a good time, and did not thrive on winning. Later, I developed academic goals and became a more serious student, but I always made time to play basketball, because I could not surf every day. Now, I am old and heavy, and I do not make time to surf. My priorities have changed, and I am more interested in people than sports.
Paul knew about pursuing goals, and his goals concerned the spiritual growth and development of people. In 1 Thessalonians 2:12 (page 1847), Paul began with the words “so that.” He now draws a conclusion about all the different things that the ministry team was doing at Thessalonica. The ministry team had been acting with total dedication to one goal: doing what Jesus wanted. Paul was telling the Thessalonians that all the ministry team did, it did with the singular purpose of helping the Thessalonians conduct their lives in a manner worthy of God.
Paul sets the highest standard of conduct by directing their attention to God. Jesus gave His life so that we would give our lives to Him, and live in His love and power. To walk worthy of God means that our lives conform to His standards and purposes, not our own.
Paul also mentions the kingdom of God. He states that God calls us into His kingdom. God does the calling, and we enjoy the reign of Christ in our lives right now. We do not see the whole world subjected to the reign of Christ right now, but we submit ourselves to His reign right now. We long for the day when He will appear, and establish His kingdom on earth, reigning from Jerusalem after He vanquishes His enemies. Until then, we walk worthy of the one and only God who calls us into His kingdom and glory. What a marvelous future! What a wonderful goal for life today!
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we accept the word of God, as it really is, into our lives.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we use our lives to minister to people who receive the word of God. We should remember them constantly in our prayer lives, and impart our lives to them.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we treat the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the word of men, and neglect using our lives in prayer and service to the people who accept the Gospel as the word of God.
Application for Today
Today, I will remember why we live as teammates with the ministry to live worthy of the God who calls us into His kingdom and glory. What are you living for today?