by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)
Yesterday’s daily water helped us see that God wants to hold together those who feel like their world is falling apart, and you are to look for ways you might be the one God uses to apply His glue. Today’s verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 helps us to see how this is a mindset that we must extend to our Christian community, A.K.A., the Church.
The context for today’s verse is an acknowledgment of the suffering that exists in a fallen world. The Apostle Paul called the Jesus followers to understand that they themselves are to be the light when darkness and loneliness abounds. As we work to keep adding to the number of those in the Church, we must also be aware of a powerful tendency in human nature, which is to denigrate things that don’t line up with our preference and practices. We look for a confirmation bias in others that we are ok, but can easily lose sight of the need to help others know they are ok, too…even while different.
Paul told the Church at Thessalonica to keep building up others as they are already doing. The inverse is also true: don’t tear down people as they come into your midst. Yes, the wisdom from Ecclesiastes 3:3b says there is a time to build up and a time to tear down, but while working to build up the Body of Christ, your job is to look for ways to apply God’s glue and trust God to be at work, too.
How can you continue to build up others and resist the urge to tear them down? This doesn’t mean we don’t correct and direct those who are wrong, but it does mean that we must do so with the loving word of God in Jesus Christ. As we start this new day, may that be our marching order.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for laying me as a stone in your body, the Church. Forgive me for the times I find it easy to tear others down; help me instead to build them up so we all may experience the profound power of your love. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.