Welcome back! Hopefully yesterday’s question brought about some quality reflection time after reviewing the passages. I hope today’s thoughts do the same as well!
Thought #1 – Vs. 1-16: Wow! I’m impressed that Paul remembered so many individuals within the church and took the time to greet them all. I am very fortunate to be part of a small church, and I LOVE the fact that I know everyone by name there. But, I don’t feel that I truly know every individual that is in my congregation. Certainly not well enough to greet personally if I were writing a letter from someplace far away! We recently lost a very prominent, “behind-the-scenes” member at my church. I knew him well enough to know the amazing impact he had on our church, but not more than outside of seeing him Sundays and Wednesdays. His funeral was packed with friends and family members, and it struck me how little I truly knew about this man that I had basically “known” since birth. This, along with these verses, got me thinking; How well do we really know the people inside of our own church body? Clearly Paul thought it was important to individually know those within the body, as he even brought up some deeper connections he had with them as a reminder and personal touch. How awesome do you think those believers felt when Paul called them out in a positive way? They were probably encouraged, and motivated to keep on doing the good things they were already doing. My aunt Susan likes to say, “If you see something good in someone, say it!!” People love positive recognition for things they do. And generally speaking, they’re not going around asking for it! I challenge you, along with myself, to seek out those deeper connections within your church so that you are able to call out the good in those around you!
Thought #2 – Vs. 17- 19: There are some pretty strong words used by Paul here. He calls out some people and intentionally tells believers to keep away from them because they are not serving Christ. Excuse my Minnesotan here, but… Ufda. I would NOT want to be one of those people!! Despite this slight shock of criticism, I love how Paul finishes his little warning with a praise and a reminder: “Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” We are to rejoice in our obedience, and in the obedience of other believers. But we are also told here to be wise about good things, and innocent about evil things. How can you be wise about the good, and innocent about the evil? I think first you must recognize the difference. We can still be innocent about evil things without being naïve to the world. We can also be very easily pulled into a deeper and unnecessary knowledge of evil if we’re not careful. We need to know enough to stay away, but not enough to compromise our innocence. How can you grow your wisdom of good things to increase your obedience? How are you keeping your innocence of evil while still being aware of what it is?
I hope these questions got you thinking from maybe a new perspective on our texts today! Tomorrow we get to start the book of John together!
To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ!