Tag Archives: Russ Taff

Seeing One Another

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:16-17, NLT*

When we look at our brothers and sisters in Christ, do we remember they’re new people? Or do we focus on the bits of their old nature still clinging to the edges of their newness?

When conflicts arise and difficulties spring up, do we band together, united by a common love of Jesus? Or do we pick at one another, take sides, form factions? Allow bitter roots to grow?

Despite differences of opinion, we who are born again spiritually are new people, citizens of God’s kingdom. We see Jesus differently, as believers. We need to see each other differently as well.

What if we consciously chose to look for signs of new life in one another instead of focusing on the negatives? To pray for one another instead of putting up walls? To pray with one another until we found common ground?

Not that we’d agree about everything, but could we hear and understand one another? Love and forgive, even if life moved us in different directions?

I’ve been asking God lately to help me see: His nature, His leading, beauty, opportunities, needs. I want to thank Peter Black of Raise Your Gaze for sharing today’s verses with me in an email. He didn’t know God would use them to point my eyes back to my own congregation with a prayer to see the new life and perhaps to somehow encourage it.

God our Saviour and Redeemer, You call us to reconciliation to Yourself and to one another. Forgive us when we allow the mess of living to obscure the new life You gave us. Help us each to recognize and confess, daily or even more frequently, those things that dim our light. Help us stay as close as possible to You, so we won’t poison ourselves or others. Give us Your love for one another so that those around us will recognize something that only You can do.

Our song this week is Russ Taff‘s “We Will Stand.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Bring Out the Best

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
1Thessalonians 5:15b, MSG*

Most translations render this verse as “always do good to one another” or “always follow after the good for one another.” I’m not entirely sure looking for and bringing out the best in one another is the same thing, but it’s definitely one way of doing good to another or working for his or her good.

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

This begins with a Christian’s responsibility to pray for open eyes and ears to see and hear what God wants to reveal.

Look for the best… for God-given potential, even if faintly visible. For spiritual gifts and natural talents. For signs of Jesus living inside.

Bringing it out in the best way starts with prayer: asking God what to say (or what to pray without even approaching the person). Asking God what He wants to do, and waiting for His timing.

Then, maybe pointing out the ability or potential we see, and encouraging the person to volunteer at the level of his or her ability. Maybe introducing a beginner to someone experienced in that area.

Beginner or seasoned worker, everyone is still a work in progress. How do we bring out the best? We celebrate the good, we are careful in correction, we encourage growth.

“The best” here doesn’t mean perfection in performance; God is more interested in the heart. Quality of work matters, but a genuine and God-serving heart is an essential part of “the best”. So let’s encourage one another’s hearts, spiritual lives and attitudes as well as the outward working of one another’s potential.

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

In our relationships with non-Christians, this would also include being alert to signs of spiritual seeking or longing for truth. The best way to bring it out will be by living our own faith authentically and sharing a word or two as God makes a way.

Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.

What better way to follow Jesus in our daily lives?

God who formed each one of us and who planned a good purpose for us, who gives talents and gifts according to Your own wisdom and for Your glory in building up of the body of believers, thank You for what You want to do in and through each of Your children. Open us to recognize the best in one another, and show us how to best bring that out. Forgive us for the times we look at one another through human eyes, short-sighted and biased – and sometimes grumpy. Help us to see what You see, and to desire what You desire.

Russ Taff‘s song, “We Will Stand,” celebrates the unity of believers working together.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson