9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?
I Thessalonians 3:9-10
In many of Paul’s letters he wrote with a sincere love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. In I Thessalonians he longed to be with them, to encourage them, to strengthen them, but he mentions that Satan hindered him and he was unable to go to them. He cared enough about their spiritual state to send Timothy in his place but he still had a longing to see them face to face so he states that he prayed night and day that he could come to them and perfect what is lacking in their faith. It is amazing his level of love for them and so the question becomes for all of us in the body of Christ: do we love one another so deeply that our desire is to perfect what is lacking in each other’s faith?
Truly this past year the Lord has matured me to the point that I am not so quick to judge my sisters and brothers in Christ. Of course, I still have areas that need work in this regard, but I am not so quick to judge as I was previously. If we say we are brothers and sisters in Christ, then our level of love and respect for one another should be as it was for Paul. In many of his epistles to the churches, he used familial language, wanting them to understand that he cared for them as a father does his children. He wasn’t just an overseer, a pastor, or an apostle, he loved them and wanted them to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ and be equipped to do the service of the church. When it was necessary to rebuke, he did so, but with love and truth.
We see so much going on in the body of Christ today. So many things, I’m sure, break your heart as they do mine. But even in our own circles and congregations we see our brothers and sisters behaving unseemly or not operating in the Word of God as they ought. How much do we love them? Is it easier to shake our heads in disdain, discuss their issues with others or delete them from our “circles”? Do we take on the responsibility of embracing them, discipling them or as Paul puts it “perfect what is lacking” in their faith? Simply put, that means that we ought to bear their burdens, impart the Word of God into their hearts, help to strengthen them where their faith is weak. Why is it that when we go through we want everyone to rally around us and support us, help us make it through, “keep us lifted,” yet we stand by the sidelines and watch someone else self-destruct?
Take a look at the people you are in close contact with. Instead of wondering where they went to dinner last week, instead of asking them where they will go on vacation, instead of asking them “What’s up?”, ask them how their walk is. Ask them if they need an accountability partner to pray for them, to intercede for them. So many in the body are suffering and struggling with addictions, abuses and so many things that would blow our minds if we knew. We don’t have to ask for specifics but how about we become concerned enough to ask them if we can pray with them. We are only as strong as the weakest one of us is.
Find someone today to encourage, to intercede for, to bless. Remember that we all have to deal with the enemy on a daily basis – maybe not in the same ways, but it’s a reality for every born-again believer. Don’t be so quick to judge one another – there are areas in all of our lives that need work and thanks be to God for his grace and his mercy! Be accountable to one another, pray for one another and be committed to perfecting what is lacking in someone else’s faith. That’s Genuine Love!
©2009 Candie A. Price