Summary: Devotions are available in plenty these days, the inbox is overflowing with spiritual teachings; however, what matters is what nourishment has it brought into your life? Are you listening?
Grow … truly grow …Part 1
2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other..”
I do receive plenty of rave reviews for my devotions! How daring! How gutsy! Encouraging! These and much more are some of the expressions I receive; well, as I write these lines, I remember the words of the Lord spoken to Ezekiel: after a fiery message to the people of Israel, the Lord looks at prophet Ezekiel and said,
“So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
“Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.”(Ezekiel 33:31, 32)
Yes, I feel the same, like a song that is heard and forgotten! I won’t be cynical and say that changes are not happening – they are – but they are very few, the rare few. Devotions are available in plenty these days, the inbox is overflowing with spiritual teachings; however, what matters is what nourishment has it brought into your life? Are you listening? The conundrum for me is why so few receive it? One particular lady wrote to me, “I receive so many Christian teachings but I don’t actually read any.” This is actually true. I remember a senior officer call me one day and say,’ I do not fail to read your daily devotions, they are very interesting with your personal experiences’ but the same officer stopped contact with me when I corrected some areas of his life. There are many out there who do not agree with all that I say but still not many leave the group, they stick on; nevertheless, my question is: how much have you grown? Have you cleansed your lives? Do you have quiet time with the Lord and do you regularly and meticulously read the Bible?
Let me talk of the church of Thessalonians, look how they grew in the Lord; they had works, faith, love for one another, patience and hope. Wonderful!
• Works to show their growth in Christ! They were not passive, lazy Christians who talk big without any works, these Thessalonian church members came to church on time, helped their pastor in his church activities and also were involved in the mission work.
• Faith – their lives reflected the faith they had in the Lord. They were not easily rattled when things went wrong but stood firm and steadfast in their love for God.
• Love for one another: Friend, when you grow in the Lord, love would be poured into your heart to love and pray for each other. We would not be fighting for petty issues and silly matters. Colossal ego clashes and selfish motives are the reason for split in the church. Crucify it and work for the benefit of the Kingdom of God rather than your ‘ego kingdom.’
• Patience and hope are essential ingredients for a peaceful life. Perseverance and patience finally leads us to hope.
A Christian has to grow and mature! Someone said: ”You can be in the right place in the right time with all the ingredients in the right place; yet miss it!” You cannot play with God, for He has said, “My spirit will not always strive with man.” (Genesis 6:3). We cannot hear the Gospel, sit for years in the church; yet be stunted. Are you listening? We got to grow and flourish! Jesus said: John 15:16”You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” Observe the words of Jesus: ‘your fruit should remain!’
Just after preaching the above message in the church, a very aged lady around 80 years old - a hindu convert, all her family members had taken water baptism as well but never attend church – came to me and said tearfully, ”please pray that my entire family should come to this church and surrender their life whole-heartedly to God, otherwise they would be thrown into the pit of hell” This is called conviction! I was happy that the message had reached her! How about you?
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Someone said, ”God uses preaching and preachers but in the preaching the hearer must hear God and must meet God.” The Thessalonians were extremely blessed through the teachings of Apostle Paul.