“The Lord Will Not…?”

Zephaniah 1

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Without repeating themes from the previous days this week, like the punishment of Israel or the reconstruction of the remnants of Jacob, we’re going to focus on one verse in particular. 

“It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’ ” (Zephaniah 1:12)

These words of God issue a strong warning to a multitude of people, many of whom are within our churches. Similar to the warning issued by Jesus about not having a lukewarm faith, here God is warning us to increase our own. The follow up to that is when those who are stagnant in spirit then say “The Lord will not do good or evil”, It is stated that God will indeed punish them. This draws me to think of Romans eight, when Paul writes about either being in the flesh or the spirit.

It is my understanding that you are either living in the flesh or in the spirit. There isn’t really a way to balance it. The people saying that “The Lord will not do good or evil” are trying to balance and will receive punishment.

I am reminded of a saying I have heard from an elder in my church that goes like “Being a Christian requires more than being a ‘good ole boy.’ ” The older I get, the more I realize that is much too prevalent in our world. Too many think that just being a good person is all there is to living for God.

It is my encouragement to all readers today to structure a prayer along with the wishes of the apostles in Luke 17:5. “Increase our faith!” When we become on fire for God and don’t remain lukewarm we can truly experience what God has required of us. To fully dedicate our lives, as a living sacrifice.

-John Evans

Reflection Questions

  1. How would you describe the stagnant in spirit or those with a lukewarm faith? What are their attitudes toward God? Where do you see this today?
  2. Do you want your faith to grow? If so, definitely pray for it! Then what? How badly do you want your faith to grow? What are you willing to change in your life, your schedule, your speech, your heart, your priorities in order to see your faith grow?

Even If

Habakkuk 3

Friday, November 11, 2022

I want to use this devotion today as a part confession, part devotion to share. At multiple times in my faith I have doubted God. The most common question I ask is “Why does so much bad happen in the world if we have a powerful God?”

And that’s the question Habakkuk asks when communicating with God. The minor prophets before him continuously condemned the corrupted Israelites, but all Habakkuk does is ask God that same question.

The main reason I share that about my life is so that even if one reader out there has asked that question, they know they’re not alone. The cool thing about it? It’s not a new or unusual question! Luckily the answer to the question, that eventually brought me peace, lies within this book.

To really focus on what Habakkuk three is all about we have to look at the set up of the previous two chapters. In the first chapter, he’s complaining to God about the corrupt Israelites. God then responds by saying that’s why he is raising Babylon. Habakkuk then flips to backtracking and telling God to slow down, Babylon is WAY worse than Israel. God teaches Habakkuk that all of the nations will have to answer eventually and that he’s not with Babylon, simply God’s not bringing them down just yet. These sins of Babylon aren’t exclusive to Babylon, there will always be a Babylon. Will God let this cycle continue?

So this back and forth is developed through the first two chapters to lead us to the third and final chapter. Habakkuk implores God to renew them in their days, not wanting to wait any longer. In verses three through fifteen Habakkuk then goes on in prayer, starting with God’s mighty appearance to the world, “radiance Like the sunlight”, a lot like the appearance of God to the Israelites way back in Exodus. He then produces in this prayer/poem that God will indeed crush evil.

“In indignation You marched through the earth; In anger You trampled the nations. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For the salvation of Your anointed.

You struck the head of the house of the evil To lay him open from thigh to neck.” (Habakkuk 3:12-13)

This is Habakkuk eventually coming to realize the truth. God will come around to having evil vanquished from our world and our lives, and he will do it by our side.

In the last three verses of the chapter, Habakkuk choses faith. He chooses that whether in war or peace, or famine or harvest, he will choose triumph in the Lord. To rejoice in the God of his salvation.

Understanding what went on in the whole book of Habakkuk draws very clear parallels to the lives of any and all who, at one time or currently, have doubted God. Take extra time to pray today but structure it differently. Pray to have your faith increased, and to be strengthened in submitting yourself to the timing of our God.

-John Evans

As a new writer for SeekGrowLove, I was asked to include a short bio about myself, so here goes...Currently attending McGintytown Church of God of Abrahamic faith, and serving as a youth leader, deacon, and assisting with worship. At Twenty-One years of age I have a lot to learn, but was once told I don’t have to know everything to be a great teacher, I just have to know something you don’t. Thanks for reading, have a blessed day.

Application

  1. Have you ever doubted God? What can you learn from Habakkuk?
  2. If you were to write a personal version of Habakkuk 3:17-19 what are some “Even if..” statements you would include? Consider hardships God has already seen you through, hardships you are currently in, as well as what the future may hold. How would you describe God’s strength and benefits for you (verses 18 & 19). Share your new poem with God as you pray for your faith to be increased.

Fight for the Faith

Jude

Saturday, October 22, 2022

We are in a battle right now.  However, that is not a unique characteristic of today.  In the New Testament, Jude recognized it and wrote in Jude 3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”  He wanted to warn people so that they could be prepared.

It is no different today.  We live in an age that touts religious freedom and tolerance, yet people are still dying for their faith and the faith of many continues to fall further and further from the truth.  We still have a job to do.   

Though we may be seeing a change in culture in our own country, we are still fairly blessed when it comes to the freedoms that we have in our faith.  In looking at the whole world, there are many countries in which admitting to being a Christian is liable to get you killed.  In that way, the fight for the faith is considerably different. They are literally fighting for their physical lives as they fight for the faith. 

We have a different, less physical fight in the U.S.   A decline in church attendance, a falling away from the faith, a bending of the faith to fit what culture says.  Are we willing to stand up, to contend, for our faith?

Jude 3 tells us that the faith was entrusted to all of God’s holy people.  I believe that by accepting Jesus into our lives, we become one of those holy people.  That means we are entrusted with the faith.  We should be fighting for what is true, to hold on to that faith, so that at Christ’s return, we, and as many others as possible can be found faithful.

~Stephanie Fletcher

Reflection Questions

  1. After urging his readers to contend for the faith, what warnings does he give through the rest of his short book? What situations, sins, and characteristics of people is Jude warning against?
  2. What does Jude want to see from God’s people?
  3. Where do you see a battle for the faith taking place today? How do you think God wants you to participate?

Sharing the Victory

1 John 5

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

One more song this week – 1 John 5:4-5 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Those two verses are the song, but verse 4 picks up in the middle of a sentence & thought, so backing up a couple verses:

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

When we have faith, we can overcome this world.  Our faith that Jesus is the son of God gives us victory and makes God’s commands not burdensome thereby helping us to keep His commands.  And by keeping His commands, we can love one another – the children of God.

Verse five is also a reminder that the victory is exclusionary.  Who overcomes the world?  Only those that believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  We have to strike a balance in our love for others.  Because if we love based on the world’s terms, we accept anything.  But to do that would not be love.  Because only those who believe that Jesus is God’s son overcome this world.  So if we in our “love” just leave our friends alone because we don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable, or we don’t want to feel uncomfortable, we put them in a position of not having that victory.  That isn’t real love.

We give a lot of reasons not to share the love of God with other people and I think fear forms the basis of a lot of it – fear of rejection, fear of being ostracized, fear of losing money/power, etc…

But when we read verses like this, we should be reminded that we have to push through that fear.  To show our love in actions (chapter 3), we need to share with others that while we have been separated from God, God provided an atoning sacrifice for our sins (chapter 4), and with this sacrifice, if we believe, we can overcome and have the victory (chapter 5).

And what is that victory?  As he wraps up his letter, John tells his audience – 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 

We need to believe in Jesus as the Son of God to be a part of that eternal life, and if we are loving others, we should be telling them so they can have that victory too.

~Stephanie Fletcher

Reflection Questions

1.”Who is it that overcomes the world?” (1 John 5:5a – see 5b for the correct answer). Who thinks they are overcoming the world? What are they missing? Do you fall into the overcoming category?

2. Who do you know who does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God? How can you truly love them?

3. What is the victory that you have to share? How would you explain it? How will you share it?

It All Adds Up

2 Peter 1

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3–11 ESV)

We have great and precious promises that have been made that will enable us to become partakers of the divine nature! As Jesus put on a new nature in his resurrection from the dead, so shall we when through faith, we endure through life’s many challenges and inherit the promise of the coming Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 11:1 says that “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” As we have faith that God will restore all things (Acts 3:21), upon our faith we must add virtue: meaning good quality of life or uprightness – not simply believing but living out our lives as something that reflects the nature of God’s goodness, justness, and righteousness. After believing and living a changed life, we are to add knowledge to that; we should always be striving to learn from God’s inspired word and learn from his spirit as it is active in us… And more than that, seek after his spirit that we might become more in line with his will and come to a greater understanding of its importance and how beneficial it is to us to walk in his ways.

Following the call to add knowledge, we encounter again the call to be self-controlled! It really does seem that much of what we read in scripture hinges on self-control and that circles back to our need to not stifle the spirit in our lives. If one of the elements that the fruit of the spirit brings forth in our lives is self-control, then we ought to do whatever it takes to drive away any behaviors that might cause God’s spirit to depart from us (Judges 16, 1 Samuel 16). Self-control allows us to endure – to stay on the course – as Paul might say, “to run the race”. We have to endure through all of the challenges and temptations that life throws at us, and we must allow the motivation of our hope, our uprightness, and the self-control that we are enabled to have through God’s spirit carry us through.

As we endure, we ought to have a reverential feeling or devotion to God, that’s what the Greek work translated godliness indicates. As we experience God’s goodness and see how His spirit works in us, we should feel more and more awe and reverence to our creator… After all, He put the plan into place that leads us into a life that transcends the brokenness that sin imparts on our lives – even though we sin and are affected by sin, God’s directives lead us onto a path that (through Jesus) casts that sin aside and draws us into community with him.

And as all these things are ingrained into our life, the part that affects others the most is the cherry on top… We are to have brotherly affection (love) as a defining characteristic in our lives! Love and care for one another as believers will lead us to speak into one another’s lives and help us when we hit rough patches. Even the most spiritually minded people hit dark periods in their lives (google the dark night of the soul). If we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will take the time to come alongside them, to care for them, to call them out, to admonish and encourage – brotherly affection means being intimately involved in the lives of our faith family – not being apathetic or half-hearted. We need to invest in each other as Christ has invested in us through his sacrifice (sometimes we must be self-sacrificial).

These qualities keep us from being ineffective witnesses and fruitless workers. We must be bearing the fruit of the word implanted in us (James 1) and strive to be effective ministers to the lives of those who are hurting and struggling. Peter says that whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind! Yikes… lacking these qualities as I read this means that we cannot see beyond ourselves, and that it a tremendous problem when one of our chief goals is to preach the gospel to all creation.

If we take these qualities to head and practice them diligently it says we confirm our election (or being chosen out) into beneficiaries of the grace of God. Also, it says if we practice these things we will never fall. So, practice these things so that you may have entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v11).

-J.J. Fletcher

Reflection:

1. Think about how Jesus exemplified all these characteristics listed in verses 5-7. If he had not exemplified all these things, would he have had the wherewithal to endure through his father’s plan of salvation through him? How can we expect to live exemplary lives if we do not take these characteristics to heart.

2. Think about the first 6 items listed (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and godliness) and the final one: brotherly affection/love. What do the first 6 produce without the 7th? We’re designed (as individuals and as a church body) to be in community, how might we be rendered fruitless and ineffective if we excel at the 6, but lack the 7th?

A Hot Topic

1 Peter 3

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Gender is a hot topic these days. We live in a society where there is much flexibility in how someone chooses to live their life, irrespective of cultural norms or the directives of our creator (let’s stick to what Peter writes about in his letter). Misogyny and radical feminism are two ways in which humans have messed up what was designed to be a tremendous blessing from God.

There is a lot to unpack here as Peter begins by addressing wives. In reading the text and then looking at commentaries it appears that foremost in Peter’s mind is a woman who has come to a saving faith in Jesus but is married to a man who does not share that faith (though we can gain something from this even if we’re not in that demographic).

The way that societies functioned, specifically the society that Peter would be writing to, did not offer much in the way of opportunity for a woman to exert influence over her husband. Her options may be quite limited in what her husband allowed her to do or permitted her to go. Where a husband and father who came to faith would be expected (even simply allowed) to bring his family along with him to religious functions, the same could not be said for the wife.

So how is a woman to minister to her unbelieving husband? How does she influence him intentionally in a way to bring him into the body of Christ? Nagging is probably not the most effective way to do this, in fact it might have the opposite effect; rather, the solution that Peter proposes is to allow the gospel of Jesus (i.e., the gospel of the Kingdom) to radically influence your way of living. Being salt and light (Matthew 5:13-14) is not just something that you are to be for people whom you may be unfamiliar with, even more importantly it is something you are to be with those who you are most intimate with. Living a life that bears the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and exemplifies Jesus’ beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11; Luke 6:20-26) will make you a more desirable (and influential) person.

Obviously, there is no way to guarantee that an unbelieving spouse will come to faith, but by being holistically attractive (not just externally, but internally as well) you will have a far better chance to influence them than if you were to try to get by on physical attraction (I don’t even know how that would really work) but be ugly on the inside.  

Peter addresses the ladies in verses 1-6, but he shifts gears in verse 7 and speaks to husbands. He says to “live with your wives in an understanding way” (ESV), literally living with her “according to knowledge” as opposed to living with her in “sheer thoughtlessness” as the Expositor’s Bible Commentary puts it. I can speak from experience, it is very easy to do what I want and expect my wife to pick up the slack, but that is not the way that Peter instructs husbands to operate. Instead of living in a way that could breed resentment and other problems (infidelity?), husbands are commanded to live in a thoughtful way.

Husbands are instructed to honor their wives as “the weaker vessel.” Huh? What does that mean? There are different ways to look at this… Societally women were weaker (we’ve already considered the lack of influence), typically women are weaker in physical strength (I can think of a few ladies that could probably wipe the floor with their husbands in a fight), and sometimes women are more emotionally fragile (have a wider range of feelings?) than men. The word for weaker (ἀσθενεστέρῳ) can be translated with lots of nuance, but one big take away from this is that women are not inferior to men. Whatever Peter is getting at with the idea of the wife being a weaker vessel, something is very clear: we are co-heirs of all the benefits that come with accepting Jesus and believing in the kingdom message. As objects of God’s salvation there is no distinction between male and female, just as there is no distinction between Jew or Greek. While husbands and wives may be called to different roles in their relationship and even in their roles in the church, this is not because of a lack of capability, this is the function that God has laid out. Husbands and wives are to minister to one another and to minister to others. We can use our marriages as an example and an opportunity in ministry. Authentic Christianity has done more to liberate women from misogyny and oppression than any other organization ever has; that being said, it has not changed the fact that men and women are different. We have equality in standing before God, we have equality in salvation, we ought to have equality in rights, but we are still different and that is a blessing. As the church is a body with many parts, the one flesh that we become in marriage takes into account our uniqueness as individuals and the differences in our physiology. We are to be reliant on one another (do not read as co-dependency), and we are responsible to one another to meet the needs that we have as image bearers of God and the uniqueness that we have as men and women.

-J.J. Fletcher

Action/Reflection:

To those of us who are married: We should evaluate where we are at in living as Peter instructs. Hopefully you are married to a fellow believer who you can discuss this passage with and commit to one another to implement these tactics in your union. If married to a non-believer, behave in a way that is intentional in living the gospel out to them.

To those of you who are engaged or hope to be married one day: Look for a spouse who takes scripture seriously and is willing to change their behavior to conform to what scripture dictates, both in their life as an individual and the way that they approach relationships.

For those of you who are called to a life of singleness (or just end up that way) or those of you who know someone who fits that description: I believe that the behaviors that the relational and internal things that Peter speaks of here will be beneficial in building authentic relationships that help navigate the potential challenges that a life of singleness may bring.

The Long Game

James 1

Sunday, October 2, 2022

The letter of James has some of the most immediately practical wisdom you can find in the Bible. Some have called it the “Proverbs of the New Testament.” If you are looking for guidelines about how a Christian should live, James is a great place to start.

The only problem is that some of James’ advice is hard to take: 

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NRSV)

I don’t know about you, but when I’m going through difficult things in life, I’m not feeling joy. Isn’t joy supposed to be reserved for things that are… joyful? Isn’t joy for when people get married, or when babies are born, or when a new season of your favorite show is available to stream, or when you are going to have tacos? Yes, joy is for the good things in life.

So why does it sound like James is telling us to enjoy suffering? Is he insane?

Well, no. In order to understand what he is saying, we have to think of the long game. We’re not to be joyful because of the difficult times we are facing, but because of the growth potential they provide for us. Going through things teaches us to endure, and being able to endure makes us more mature and complete. Pressures shape us into stronger people. Recall that if you subject carbon to intense heat and pressure, you get diamonds!

Consider any elite athlete. They didn’t get where they are by accident, but through years of difficult and intense training. Do you think they truly enjoyed all of that training? Of course not, but I bet they did enjoy knowing that through their training, they were going to be the GOAT at their sport.

If you want your muscles to become stronger, you have to progressively challenge them. Likewise, when our faith is challenged, it also becomes stronger. James is asking us to take on the right attitude of joy during our times of discomfort, because we know that through those challenges, we are deepening and growing our faith.

In thinking about all these things, I’m reminded of the time Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, under unimaginable distress because he knew he would soon lose his life. Imminent death is the kind of thing that would test anyone’s faith, even Jesus. He didn’t want to go through with it any more than you’d want to drive a stake into your own eye socket. In his situation, I would have been tempted to just run away and wash my hands of the whole thing. I’d say to myself, “This whole messiah business has taken quite a turn and I just want a quiet life somewhere.” I can imagine he had that same temptation. Surely he didn’t enjoy being betrayed, put on trial, scourged, and nailed to a piece of wood to die in total humiliation.

Jesus didn’t have to do what he did, but he was thinking of the long game. Yes, he knew he would face a horrible death, but deep in his heart he had something resembling joy. Not joy because of the circumstances he was enduring, but because of what was just over the horizon. It was this joy and hope that allowed him to muster the strength to say with his dying breath, “It is finished.” He knew that his dying would mean, paradoxically, conquering over the powers of sin and death, and leading us on a mass exodus out of their clutches. He knew that his resurrection would unleash a new reign of God on the earth and again put us at one with God.

Jesus did what he did because he was thinking of us.

-Jay Laurent

A couple questions to reflect on:

1. What are some trials or difficult times that you have had to endure?

2. Can you think of any ways you grew as a result of these times?

Something Better

Hebrews 11

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The opening verse of this chapter sets forth the premise of what is to follow: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (v. 1). The author will go through no less than 10 explicit individuals, and mentioning a list of several more, who exhibited faith in their life. And then the chapter concludes by saying “All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us” (vv. 39-40).

The chapter’s conclusion draws together the litany of exemplary witnesses by tying it to the faith that they share with the audience. And while the exemplars of old had not received the promise, it was by no fault of their own, but it was determined beforehand by God that in his grace, he planned for “something better” to be available to the readers that was not available in the past to all those faithful witnesses that were mentioned. And that “something better” was “to be made perfect” (v. 40).

Now, to modern readers the idea of being made perfect might not be the same as the biblical idea of being made perfect. In Hebrews, the idea of “perfection” entails the definitive forgiveness and putting away of sin, purification and consecration to God, and glorification (i.e., resurrection). And so, to be “made perfect” refers ultimately to eschatological salvation that is bestowed on the worshiper through the high priestly ministry of Christ (cf. 10:14).

But let’s think for a moment, why does the author need to go to such a great length throughout the chapter to simply demonstrate that believers prior to the new covenant did not receive what was promised? Why make the emphasis so extravagant?

One reason for the author’s inclusion of such a long description of exemplars of the faith is to celebrate those who stood with faith looking forward to the promise, but yet not receiving it in their lifetime. The testimony of all these witnesses is that “Faith holds onto the promise, even when the evidence of harsh reality impugns its integrity, because the one who promised is himself faithful” (William Lane, Hebrews [WBC], 395).

I think we have all probably dealt with times when we are holding on to faith, but it doesn’t seem like anything is happening or changing, and we didn’t actually get to see the outcome of our faith. This is what it was like for the believers in the old covenant who looked forward to the coming Messiah and the fulfillment of God’s promise. But we don’t have to look forward since Messiah has already come and has begun to fulfill what God promised.

Therefore, while we have not been “made perfect” yet to the fullest extent of what God has planned for those who trust in him, in Christ we have the definitive sacrifice for sin, the cleansing of our conscience, and a taste of the powers of the age to come. Let us continue to hold fast to our faith in hope of what God has promised that is yet to come: resurrection and final victory over the power of death, so that those who stood by faith before us can also be made perfect with us in God’s coming kingdom.

-Jerry Wierwille

Questions

  1. What encouragement do you gain from reading of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11?
  2. Which heroes of the faith are you most looking forward to being with when we together receive God’s promise and reward at the resurrection and coming Kingdom? Why?

Nourishment

1 Timothy 4

Thursday, September 8, 2022

“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” – 1 Timothy 4:6

One of my favorite parts of the year is camps, and retreats, and other various conferences. At these conferences I always love hearing other people’s stories of faith. Listening to the speakers everyday and overall being surrounded by people of faith and having a safe place to discuss, and weed through questions we often ask. These events we attend are crucial in spiritual development. But why do I feel differently when I get home? Similar to a feeling of hunger, if we do not surround ourselves with the nourishment of Godly things. The fact we feel hungry at home and not at these events, probably means we need to start being more diligent in reading and feeding ourself with spiritual truths, and people. If we did that we wouldn’t be as “hungry”. As Paul says, it’s just a part of “being a good servant of Christ Jesus.” That and it feels great to be close to God and his promises. Go, be nourished. I know I need it. 

-Jesse Allen

Application Questions

  1. When do you feel most spiritually nourished?
  2. What do you think God expects you to command and teach to others? (verse 11 and surrounding passage)
  3. Have you been watching your life and doctrine closely? Why do you think Paul mentions both? What is the result if you persevere in doing both well?

Does the Truth Matter?

2 Thessalonians 2

Saturday, September 3

This chapter comes with some very big warnings.  From the very beginning of the chapter to the very end, it is full of warnings not to be deceived.  If this was such a big problem 2000 years ago, how much bigger is it now?  We need to heed all of these warnings because just like the Thessalonians, we also have others trying to deceive us in every step of our lives.


 To be able to keep from being deceived, we must first know the truth.  In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, ‘“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”’  According to these verses, the very first thing we need to do to keep ourselves from being deceived is to hold to Jesus’ teaching.  To do this, we need to first know what Jesus taught and to obey it.  When we hold to the teachings of Jesus, we are really his disciples.  Then, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.


In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Paul writes that the Thessalonians were “saved… through belief in the truth.”  The Thessalonians not only knew the truth, they also believed it.  For this reason, they were saved.  We also can be saved when we know the truth and choose to believe in it.  But, if you choose not to believe in the truth, there are serious consequences.


In verse 13, Paul writes, “[S]o that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”  It is a matter of life or death, whether or not you believe in the truth.  If you believe in the truth, you can be saved and have eternal life in the kingdom.  If you do not believe in the truth, however, you will be condemned and will perish.


Verse 15 says, “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”  Paul has told us what our choices are.  The choice to believe in the truth or to not believe in it.  He urges us, then, to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings.  When we hold fast to the teachings, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.  It’s not a trivial decision!  It is life or death, so choose the truth!

-Kaitlyn Hamilton

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How can you be sure you are not being deceived?
  2. How are you following Jesus’ teachings, not the pastor or creeds or traditions, but following Jesus’ teachings?
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