“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. that goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead bless-that’s your job, to bless- you’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things.” 1 Peter 3:8-12 Msg
Do you know people who live this way? I think I’m surrounded by people like this. What a blessing it is. I don’t go to church on Sunday, I’m part of a church. And, I’m not just talking about my church. I’m talking about THE church- Christianity. I have friends and family who are not believers, and I wouldn’t trade them- they are very very special to me. But, in all honesty they don’t offer the same support to me as the church does. My fellow believers, my inner core of friends and family. The church is what keeps me holy. I don’t believe you have to attend a church to live a Christian life, but I do believe it is a very important part of Christian life. So many times the church has reminded me of what I have in Christ. Reminded me of how blessed I am. Reminded me I’m not alone. Reminded me of my purpose. And so often the church inspires me to do more. The more involved in church and Bible Study I am the more I want to do for God. The more I want to do for God, the more I’m blessed. The more I’m blessed, the more I’m humbled. The more I’m humbled, the more at peace I become.
And that is the greatest gift: Peace.
I mean true peace. I don’t have to be scared anymore. I don’t have to worry anymore. I don’t have to stress anymore. Do I? Yes, of course! But not nearly as often and not nearly as much, and, when I do- it’s because I chose to, not because I had to.
Being a slave to Christ is the free-est lifestyle you’ll ever find.
Do bad things happen to Christians? Yes, of course! We’re still part of this life and part of this crazy world! And, sometimes bad things happen because evil is present, and sometimes bad things happen because we’re being refined. So, what makes it different? It’s the peace! And the love of other Christians, speaking the truth in love when you don’t want to hear it, hold you up when you can not stand, reminding you of the gifts you have when you can not see them.
We are inspired to love because HE first loved us. Not through condemnation, but through conviction.
I’ve had some “stuff” over the past couple of weeks, some that, in the past, when I didn’t have Christ as the center of my life, but as a sidekick, may have crippled me. Or, may have shaken me. But GOD . And, in the midst of it all- the greatest gift of all- we’re getting ready to finalize our adoptions! Know who has supported us through this entire foster journey more than anyone? The Church. Know who’s idea this whole adventure was? God’s. Guess what? HIS plan is ALWAYS better! Is there pain along the way? Yep. Do we lose people we love? Yep. Are we blessed beyond our wildest dreams in ways on we and HE can see? Yep!
So, go out today and bless people around you. Bless your friends. Bless your neighbor. Bless your enemy. You never know what sort of an impact it can have on your own life, and theirs.