"...the truth shall make you free" (Jn 8:32)
THE JOY OF BEING WITH BRETHREN
“I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother” (Phile 7).
The Lord has blessed us with a loving family all over the world. What a joy to travel far and wide and meet in worship with brethren one has known from long ago. It’s not a small world, rather it’s a large family. How comforting that wherever we may worship on the Lord’s Day, although our language and accent may be different, the acts and object of worship are the same, since we follow the same New Testament instructions to guide worship “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24). We are admonished to appreciate one another. “Love the brotherhood” (1 Pet 2:17).
“The brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:17).
Weekly Bible Article
Depending on God when Dealing with People
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” (Phil 2:14-15).
God put us in the world to glorify Him and serve mankind. Loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves are the root of true Bible religion (Mk 12:29-31). Jesus is our wonderful example of selfless service to help the needs of others (Mk 10:45). Yet, we know this world has its share of difficult people. (Did you know that each of us, in our weaker moments, might be one of them to someone else?)
God’s spiritual power is more than able to cope with any problem: “as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses…in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God” (2 Cor 6:4,6-7). Paul depended on the Lord, despite massive challenges. This is why he was “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor 6:10). See difficulties as a faith building exercise to discover what Paul discovered – God is always sufficient (2 Cor 3:5). “The surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor 4:7).
Paul is a model of humbly serving others, despite problems. In fact, Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-9), in context, was his difficulties that “weakened” him in preaching (2 Cor 12:10; cf. 2 Cor 11:23-33). This “weakness” was an occasion for humble trust in the Lord. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). In our difficulties we discover Christ’s strength to carry on.
Paul said his example was valid only to the extent he “followed Christ” (1 Cor 11:2). He encouraged the Corinthians to discover the life-changing power of thinking on the glory of the Lord and being spiritually transformed into His image (2 Cor 3:18). Paul as a preacher served the Lord foremost (2 Cor 4:5-5:9) and not just to keep a paycheck.
Dealing with difficult people, even our brethren, can be Christ’s opportunity for a Christian to grow as a servant. The apostle Paul said, “The members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1 Cor 12:22). Why? It forces us to give them attention to meet their spiritual needs, which is an opportunity to grow in Christ-like service (1 Cor 12:23-27). Each member lives and works for our gracious Savior, in order to help others go to heaven. Paul was patient with his brethren, in order to give them time to develop (2 Cor 1:23-24). This dependence of God will help us not become impatient when dealing with aggravating people.