03/01/M – Endurance and Encouragement

2 Chronicles 30:1-20; Romans 15:5-13; Psalms 25:8-15; Proverbs 10:20-21

NT: “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice. Therefore welcome one another, just as Christ also welcomed you, to the glory of God… Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:5-7, 13‬ ‭CSB)

In chapter 17 of the Gospel of John (known as Jesus’ priestly prayer), Jesus prayed for all those who would come to believe in Him.  He prayed, “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” (‭‭John‬ ‭17:21-23‬ ‭CSB) The church, the body of Christ, is called to live in harmony and unity with one another under the lordship and headship of Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ’s lordship, that is not possible, but if we all humble ourselves and submit to Christ’s lordship, He will share the glory that the Father had given Him with us. He will give us His endurance and His encouragement. That word endurance means steadfastness, constancy, patience and perseverance. The same steadfastness, patience and longsuffering that Jesus shows us, he will give us that we may show it to our brothers and sisters in Christ… even those brothers and sisters that naturally get on our nerves and offend our flesh. The word encouragement is the same word that is used to describe the Holy Spirit: paraklesis. Not only will the Lord share his endurance with us, but He will also, through the Holy Spirit, come along side us to exhort, encourage, console, comfort and instruct us as we follow His lead. Unity and harmony among the church is possible in Christ – and as we walk in unity, harmony and genuine love for one another, it will glorify God and testify to the veracity of who Jesus is – unto the hope, peace and joy that is in us, overflowing to those around us as they place faith in Christ.

Psalms: “The Lord is good and upright; therefore he shows sinners the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the Lord’s ways show faithful love and truth to those who keep his covenant and decrees. Lord, for the sake of your name, forgive my iniquity, for it is immense. Who is this person who fears the Lord? He will show him the way he should choose. He will live a good life, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he reveals his covenant to them. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he will pull my feet out of the net.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:8-15‬ ‭CSB)

The Lord is good and righteous in all His ways. He is definitely worthy of our trust and our dependence. If He says that He will grace us as we trust Him, then He will truly grace us. If He says that He will come along side those who humble themselves before Him, then He will do exactly what He has promised. When we place our trust in the Lord and honor Him in the way that He deserves – when we lay aside our ways to follow Him in His ways, then He is faithful to lead the humble in what is right and teach them His way. Not only that, the Lord treats those who trust and honor Him as intimate friends, showing them His secrets and revealing to them the mysteries of His covenant. The Lord desires to glorify us with a good life and a rich inheritance, and He faithfully does that as we depend on Him in humility and trust Him completely. As we are glorified through His grace, He is glorified as the world witnesses His grace at work in us. That truth definitely encourages me.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that as you call me to live a level of life that I am not able to live on my own, You do not leave me to struggle and strive to live up to Your calling and expectations. As I humble myself, place my faith fully in You, trust You completely and follow You as my Lord, You will grace me with Your glory and encourage me with Your very presence by the Holy Spirit. I know that You are good and altogether righteous, so I do trust You… I humble myself before You and ask that You will grace me to love and live in unity with all who are in Christ – that You may be glorified and draw people to Yourself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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