Daily Devotion - November 12 - Who, What and How?

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Today's Devotion - November 12, 2020
Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5
Weekly Theme: See...Judge...Act
Today: Who, What and How?

This week’s theme is “see...judge...act”. I must admit when I first saw this in my scripture reading guide my first thought was “Wait a minute...I thought we were not supposed to judge”. This statement is about seeing what God places in front of us through Scripture, through events and circumstances and through others. And then to judge and assess ourselves and ask, “How am I doing when it comes to...(you fill in the blank depending on how God leads you)? So judging, as I have said recently in another devotion, is something we do to ourselves. Once we have everything straightened out in our own life, then we may be fit to help others as they hold themselves accountable but our first person to judge is ourselves.

Paul offers us final instructions to the Thessalonians, and to us today, on who it is that we are to see, what it is that we are supposed to see and how we act towards them. We are supposed to see (or look for) those who work hard, who care for you and care for you enough to admonish you. What does that word mean, anyway? Admonish means to encourage or urge someone to correct a behavior that is not healthy. Some view it as a harsh word but you have to understand that these people have already been described as people who work hard, who care for you and that their correction (admonishment) is born out of love.

We are supposed to judge people in a positive light. We are to respect them and love them for their hard work and seek to live in peace with them. For those whom we love enough to admonish, we are to lovingly warn them about idle and disruptive behavior and encourage them and help them. Notice there is no mention of going around and talking about them behind their back. There is no mention of condemning them to hell but simply holding them accountable in Christian love that they may be moved by the Holy Spirit, working through you, to act differently. The purpose of judging is to first assess ourselves and then when relationships are formed with others in Christian love, to help another judge himself or herself. We judge ourselves and one another only for the purposes of edifying and building up, ”always striving to do what is good for one another and for everyone else.” In other words when we judge ourselves and others it is only for purposes of moving ourselves and others to be more like Christ--- full of prevailing love, goodness, faithfulness, and grace, and in a manner in which evil is rejected.

What is it that we see in each other as fellow Christians? Are we looking for what is good and giving encouragement? If we see something that needs correcting, are we handling this with Christian love and in a manner that is going to urge others to do better as they hold themselves accountable? Before we open our mouth to judge someone else are we each oing a self-assessment first? And if someone thinks enough of us to correct us, do we become defensive or do we recognize this as love? Seeing, judging, and acting in a particular way that includes love, respect, peace, goodness, and faithfulness is critical in disciple making. And disciple making is a continuous lifetime process through which we are drawn ever closer to Christ and spurred on as God sanctifies and perfects us. So let’s see, judge and act with one another as fellow believers who love enough and care enough about others to edify and build up, and when necessary admonish (with love).

Dear God, thank you for the Church, the body of Christ, whose mission it is to make disciples. Help us to understand that part of that role involves looking at others who set great examples, acknowledging when we each may fail and need to be admonished and to always do so with love, respect, peace, goodness and faithfulness in our hearts. We ask this in Jesus’ name who modeled this behavior for us while on earth. Amen.

 
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