Thoughtful concerns of an apostle
Much of the Apostle Paul’s writings express his concerns for the health of the New Testament Church. Paul understood Jesus words on the relationship between spiritual health and behaviour. Every state of inner health bears its own unique fruit; “every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17).
Paul, like Jesus, gets to the point quickly once he’s evaluated who he’s speaking with. So, Jesus crystalized the truth on spiritual health; “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18). Jesus spoke with such black and white words in order to be clear and definitive. Likewise, Paul does the same for the same reason.
Consider Paul’s confidence in Timothy. He was a younger man replicating Christ’s concern for God’s children. Paul says; “I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare” (Philippians 2:20). Our Churches need more forward believing, forward concerned people like Timothy. Believers benefit from being part of a congregation possessing this degree of dependable concern for each other. Concern, not so much for the frivolous matters of life; but concern for the whole person that takes the required time with the needed patience. This concern has Christlikeness, purity, biblical truth, marriage and family relationships, plus the raft of everyday health and well-being issues which we all live with at its heart.
The Church of Jesus Christ needs to “take care… lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13). Sin can so easily seduce you through self-centred thinking. Since in God’s wisdom, He has designed His Church with Christ as the head and not the almighty “I”, we need to look out for each other on Christ’s behalf.
Genuine Christ-like character is concerned about the Saviour’s glory (1Co 10:31) and how to glorify Christ through our relationships. It longs for opportunities to express the loving grace of God into other’s lives for the purpose of salvation, then sanctification, then glorification (Rom 8:29-30; 1Co 1:30; 1Th 4:3). Along the way there will be discipleship in personal life issues, healing and recovery from pains, and victories over sinful inner strong-holds.
The holiness of fellow Christians should captivate our attention. How easy it is for us to lose focus of God’s design, His desire for His Church. God’s eternal plan is straight forward; “those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). Therefore, we Christians should walk in unity with Christ; encouraging, uplifting, equipping, and exhorting one another to selfless, holy, and more joyfull mature living for Christ (Eph 4:12-16).
Christ’s selfless character is our bullseye target in personal development; “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). But how do you do this? “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). When you have a thought for self, chose to have a similar thought for others. When you plan to treat yourself, plan to treat another also. When you pray for self, pray first for others. When you dream to bless self, dream and plan to bless others.
I encourage you today, to check your priority of concerns. Align them with God’s concerns, Christ will be honoured, others will be blessed, and you shall be satisfied.