It’s 4:15 PM on this Saturday evening and I am making final preparations before I speak at our Saturday night service. The last few weeks have brought a new perspective. This pandemic has changed so many things and so many of us. While political, economic and relational tension continues to rise, we Christ-followers should not be shaken. I wonder how many of us may have forgotten that the world in which we live is fallen and will always reveal its temporary nature. When those times come, we should lean in to the things that really matter. Perhaps the greatest benefit of following Jesus is the overarching peace we experience during unrest. The entire New Testament was written to Christians who were experiencing everything we are experiencing now to an even greater degree. Given that reality, what instruction did Paul offer? You will find it in the close of his letter to the Philippians.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Is our gentleness evident to all? Or, is our aggression similar to those who are not part of us? Are we anxious and frustrated? Or, are we praying, and as a result, filled with the peace of Christ? Are we rejoicing in our unshakable kingdom? Or, are we placing our faith in a temporary one that, like all kingdoms, will eventually fall?
There are two types of Christ-followers in this volatile season. One stands and shouts and condemns with the same type of anger and self righteousness present in their enemy. The other stands and speaks and compels in peace and gentleness, keeping their eyes forever on Jesus who will work everything together for His good.
Let us speak the truth in love and model our confidence to a world in need of hope. The single greatest obstacle to the impact of the Gospel is not its inability to provide answers, but the failure on our parts to live it out. “There are five Gospels,” said Rodney Smith the British evangelist, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people will never read the first four.”
Pastor Jeff Vines, Lead Pastor at ONE&ALL Church
Published September 11, 2021
Today with Jeff Vines at ONE&ALL Media