…your faith in God has become known everywhere…. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1:8b, 9b, 10, NIV*
Last week I noticed that the Thessalonians received the gospel with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. (1 Thessalonians 1:5) In verse six, Paul adds more to this: “you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
Their work, endurance, love and hope after turning to God have become known not just locally in Macedonia and Achaia but “everywhere”. When God gets a hold of people, news travels.
The section of the story quoted in the opening made me stop and think today. These are obviously people who had been hungry for God. They hadn’t known who He is or how to find Him, and their idol worship was all the culture offered. If they’d been satisfied with it, they wouldn’t have jumped ship.
God knew the people were searching for Him, and He sent Paul, Silas and Timothy. Remember how clearly He directed Paul into the region of Macedonia?
He knows the people in our lives who are searching for Him now. This passage reminds me not to judge or make assumptions based on someone’s behaviour. Yes, maybe they’re purposely defying Him. But more likely, they’re getting by the best they can and reaching for Him in ways only His Spirit can see.
Father, my own perceptions can blind me to what You’re doing. Please help me see what You see in the people around me. You love each one, and You know when someone needs a touch or a word. Help me share the hope and the joy that only You can give. Thank You for the freedom Jesus bought for us.
Todd Agnew’s song, “On a Corner in Memphis,” helps us take a better look at some of the unlikely searchers (and some of the folks in church who aren’t searching, but that’s another story!) Todd is my favourite solo artist. His lyrics and passionate delivery frequently stretch me past my ordinary musical comfort zone. This one’s more country than you’d usually see in my playlist, but I’ve really connected with it. It’s from his album, Better Questions.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank you for sharing this. I am guilty about this attitude, which I am praying to God to undo in my life. I remember God telling me something like this some years back. If you are not willing to spend time in prayer about others convictions, than don’t waste your time thinking about what their convictions are. Thank you for this reminder. I keep falling into this pit of external judging. May the Lord help me!
God bless you and keep you!
This is a lovely post. Refreshing, especially when so many voices–even Christian voices–seem to be judging. You have a perspective that reflects the love God asks us to show toward others. –Godspeed, Elizabeth
Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth, and leaving me a link to follow back to your blog. I’ve bookmarked it so I can return!
It’s so sad to me that Christians get pulled so quickly into judging, even when we don’t mean to. We need to stay really close to the Lord.
Violet’s post today at Other Food: Daily Devo’s speaks to this same issue. It’s called “How Impartial Are You?“