When we wrestle through acts of service for other believers and for the lost, we find more and more joy in giving of ourselves. I just started reading in Acts today and I’m reminded of Jesus giving us three primary relationship resources, resources for staying close to Him until His return.
1) The Apostles (New Testament)
2) The Word (Old and New Testaments)
3) The Holy Spirit
We have these three as amazing resources to better know Jesus Christ more intimately, the One, in the perfect fellowship of the Godhead, Who we can know in our mind’s eye as intimately familiar with our trials and sorrows. This Savior came and experienced our temptations and got on our level perfectly. As we get on one another’s level day-in and day-out, we remember that all we have has been given to us. Where this matters most is with relationships, not money, stuff, and activities. People are what matter most, right? What do we have that we have not received, friends? Check out 1 Corinthians 4:7 in context – LINK.
Our adult Sunday School group is led quite well by some dear friends of ours. The husband in this godly duo challenged all of us to soak in and grow in Isaiah 58. Specifically he challenged us to soak in verses 6-14 or there about as I recal. Reading over this passage this morning, my heart is reminded yet again that it’s true, we find the deepest delight when we’re least oriented around selfish gain and our own agendas in this life.
When we come together as the Bride of Christ to know our Groom, to intimately be aware of His plans and intentions, we become again aware of being the children of God by way of the blood of Christ. As we embrace being God’s children, we are reminded that we are adopted into this family. Adoption in many ways for me is even more powerful than a blood-line tie with someone humanly speaking. Why is this? I have two adopted brothers, and my wife and I often talk and pray about being ready for being adoptive parents if God leads us in that direction. Adoption is so powerful because it mirrors what God has done with including non-Jews in His family planning. God has purposefully made children out of wanderers and lonely strangers, the destitute and mis-placed, the struggler and foreigner. Yet, we circle around these three together, the Apostles’ teachings and the Word as a whole, united by One Spirit, the very Spirit of God working in us and through us to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13).
As we co-labor with this eternal familiy perspective, we more than ever hope to see more children enter this huge and beautifully diverse family. We long to see our homes full of newborns spiritually-speaking in particular, but also literally and physically. There is something deeply encouraging about being around and warmly aquainted with a new believer in Christ, just like what happens when you’ve held and looked upon the face of a friend’s newborn baby. You get “baby fever” so-to-speak and “want one for yourself” in a way. As believers, we should all long for and hope to be involved in sharing the hope we have in Christ with a dying world, a world that doesn’t realize where hope can be found.
May the people of God encounter Jesus Christ in these three ways, and may the Holy Spirit reveal Himself where God promises to encounter us as described above. May we love on each other and those in hard places around us, knowing that we will encounter Jesus more fully in so doing than if we simply think about him and otherwise live guilt-heavy lives. May our motivation be relationship and joy in that relationship far over and far dominating the popular misunderstanding about true and sincere religion. The truly devoted to Christ get more joy from service than is logically possible. Why? Because we encounter Jesus in tangible ways when we touch the lives of the hurting and dying around us!
In His joy and friendship,