Thursday, June 8, 2017

2 Corinthians 13:11

"Dear Brothers (sisters), I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11(NLT)

I'm sure we have all had instances with other people, especially as women, where we feel like the outsider, outcast, unwanted. We know from Scripture this is not God's design for the church at all. We are meant to live in unity, harmony and love with one another.

I have the opportunity to lead women's ministry at our church and when I think about the women there, I get so excited! I see a desire to be real with one another, vulnerable, walking through the good and bad of life in real time together. And I am encouraged by them and this verse and charge to live this way. Let's break this verse down and apply it to our everyday life.

-Be joyful. Life isn't always happy, easy or fun. But, we have the true source of Joy available to us always-Jesus. We can walk through hard, unhappy circumstances, but tap into the Life Source and experience and extend joy to our situation and those we are around.

-Grow to maturity. We have to dig deep into the Word. Meditate, pray, spend time intentionally growing our relationship with Him. Then we can share that growth and maturity, sometimes by default, sometimes intentionally, with others and encourage one another to press in deeper to Him.

-Encourage each other. Life is difficult. The critics are always ready to pounce on us and point out everything out we are doing wrong. Even in the church. Let's instead encourage one another. Take the time to really see one another, look into each other's lives, see how we can come alongside one another and offer encouragement. This literally can be offering a helping hand, offering a word of encouragement or a simple smile. There is some way each of us can encourage somebody else and we all know the tremendous impact that can have on our day, week or even month.

-Live in harmony and peace. It takes less than a minute looking online to see we have very strong and differing opinions about what others should or shouldn't be doing. But we see right here that we are called to live in unity and peace with one another. We must remember that we are all made in God's image. We are His masterpiece. When we really mull over that, we begin to see beauty in each and every person. We then are able to celebrate and encourage our different personalities, different opinions, different ways to doing things because we see unique pieces and attributes of God in each person. We will never see eye to eye on everything, but we can always strive to live in harmony and peace with one another.

-Then the God of love and peace will be with you. That's what we want. We want God with each one of us. Because a relationship with Him is the important thing in life. When we are joyful, growing in Him, encouraging one another, living in harmony and peace, we are creating an environment for Him to move and use us to reach other to others who need Him. Let's passionately chase after Him and bring as many others along with us as possible!

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