Easier said than done.#8. “Who we imitate is who we follow.”

Easier said than done.#8. “Who we imitate is who we follow.”

Threats, wars and disasters unite both nation and neighbours. The need to pull together for the common good motivates people to go beyond their previous limits. It is when the cost of the ravages of war or disaster are carried by some, but neglected by others, that resentment ends in the division.

At the congregational level, we are continually engaging spiritual threats, wars and disasters. The devil is the first to cry unfair into our ears. He has a list of names handy for us to blame for anything that goes wrong. It always starts with the leaders and ends with anyone else but us. He is masterful at keeping our eyes off the main thing. Our true purpose gets lost in justifying our talking points that we feel others are ignoring.

The obligation that you and I have to our neighbours is to get them to Jesus. Divisive thoughts, words and actions are outside of our job description.

Division kills co-operation. Divided we are a weakened force against evil. United we bring the powers of heaven upon an ever-greater number of lost souls. The church in Thessalonica had a massive faith footprint. Paul boasts: “For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you…in every place” (1Thess.1:8). Together the brethren exchanged the excesses of idolatry for the true life in Christ. Together they embraced the gospel and endured persecution for Jesus. And together they became a model church for all the others in the area to emulate (1Thess.1:7). The key to their unity of purpose is easily explained. Paul commended this congregation for doing what every congregation should do to be a model church: “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1Thess.1:6).

For the same result, we need only do the same things. Remember, who we imitate is who we follow; let it be the Lord!

John Staiger

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