Good morning friends. I think most of us agree that, according to the signs we see, time is growing short before the return of our Lord. Yesterday we read Paul's instructions to the Thessalonians about what the end will look like and who exactly will be deceived and who will not. I stated that if believers remain strong in the Lord, in the Word of God, we have nothing to fear, so it should be clear then what we must do:
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Every morning we wake up the first thing we should do is remind ourselves that we are different from the world, that we have been changed, that we are a new creation. It is only in remembering that we are a new creation, that we are loved by God, that we belong solely to Jesus Christ that we will remember that we have different priorities, one of which is the study of God's Word. Another is an attitude of praying about everything and for everyone. A third is the need to worship. A fourth is to tell as many people as will listen about Jesus Christ and the gift of grace. It is vitally important that we remind ourselves at the start of each day who we belong to. Read Paul's words to the Thessalonians:
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. vs. 13-14
Consider these things: you are loved by the Lord; you were chosen from the beginning of time; you were called to share in the glory of Jesus. Pretty amazing stuff. Amazing enough to keep us from being deceived by the great delusion in the end days. Paul is then able to write:
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
Standing firm is not optional for us. It should be one of our motivations for taking the time we do with Jesus in the Word, worship, prayer and in the fellowship of believers. To stand firm is to remain strong; to remain strong is to maintain our spiritual fitness. Just like physical fitness there is no magic pill, it takes effort and work. Listening to preachers and teachers can add to what the Spirit is teaching you but is not good enough to feast on alone. You cannot be maintained by another man's revelation and understanding. We also cannot leave off the good works we are to be involved in, which is a working out of our faith. The Christian life is not one of sitting and watching TV or playing around on computers 24/7; it is a full life.
Our prayer for each other should be the same as what Paul prayed for the Thessalonians:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. vs. 16-17
It is great to receive encouragement from each other but it is so much better when we realize the source of that encouragement is from Jesus and our Dad. They are occupied with us. They love us and want to see us fulfilled in the purpose we have been given. They want to see us strong and growing. They want to see us able to stand in the last days no matter the cost to us so that we may be glorified in Jesus and he in us. So, are you staying fit? Are you making the effort? Are you going to be able to stand firm? You know what you need to do, so let's stop being lazy and get to it. To God be the glory.