“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:1, NIV)
When we left off last week, we began to explore the God-given truth that His wills for the Church family to be a good example of how a family can be. We can love, forgive, and through Him – our relationships can experience glorious restoration. The key is to place Christ at the center of our relationships. Remember, He is to be the foundation. The foundation on God is why “the righteous are never shaken” (see Ps. 112). He is what causes there to be a difference – a transformation.
When Christ is not the center of our structure, how can we expect it to stand?
Invested in Relationships
This is why these men of God could come to the church of the Thessalonians, and share with them the truth of God. There was a bond that could not be broken. Their relationships with one another was unshakable, as long as they stayed committed to the Way. They were invested in one another – for the long run.
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Prov. 27:6, NLT)
Their relationship with one another was centered on depth, not what felt comfortable. There were times when the truth would be spoken to ultimately better their friend (and their relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ), but it would be painful to do.
We read about this in 2 Corinthians 7:2-14, as Paul had to share some influential truths with the Church of Corinth. He wrote that the truth spoken, might have caused the Corinthians sorrow – yet it had its purpose. To lead them into repentance – turning away from sin and toward God (see vv. 8-9).
… our relationships would be centered around something, other than Christ. But, now. Our relationships invite Him to participate center stage. As we continue to walk with Jesus Christ each day, we need to allow our relationships to experience our inward transformation too. To glean the most from “Seeking Holiness,” we need to understand this redefinition of relationships.
These men of God and the Thessalonians are operating on a relationship based on trust found through Christ alone. This is where we invite others into our lives, to speak the transformation words of Christ. In Scripture, we are reminded that we all belong to God’s family (see Eph. 2:19). This opens the door to this new-way-of-relating to one another.
If we want to allow our brothers and sisters (in Christ) to experience the transformative works of Christ, we need to allow Him to invade our relationships.
This is where the most blessings occur. The Thessalonians would soon experience that, as they put into practice these men’s words given to them by God to speak.
With Christ as our foundation, everything changes. As we consider those relationships with other believers, let’s give them room to speak His truth in our lives. God will use these relationships and moments of truth-telling in these trusted relationships, to change our lives (and others) – for the better. We never have to go back to the before.
“We have been resurrected to life, as it were, so that there will be a change in the kind of life we live due to God being at work in us. The Creator is at work; in fact, interestingly, workmanship can be translated “work of art.” God is not merely giving a command and transforming us, but He is artistically molding and shaping us.” – John W. Ritenbaugh, on Eph. 2:10