"… I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…"
Key point: Being filled with Jesus is a requirement for being a Christian, and this must be evident in us. This is what the Fruit of the Spirit is all about: God is working in and through us. It is imperative that the leadership of the church exhibits the life and power of Christ. If not, what are we there for? If it is weak, it's time to step up the personal and corporate prayer, daily Bible reading. We must be aware of our sinful desires and place them at the foot of the Cross. People will not see Jesus at work unless they see that He is at work in the leadership. This sets the tone for the congregation!
What we give back to God and to our congregation is our growing faith in the Lord. We are called to play it forward in love to be Christ's life example, to be the people and church someone wants to give thanks for. When we become stagnant in our spiritual formation or distracted to meaningless trends, we must be in prayer and seek God's empowerment and wisdom to have His enlightenment so we know Him more and others see Him more in us. Why? By faith in Jesus Christ through the grace of God, you and I have eternal salvation! An incredible amount of gratitude should come from each leader, all of us in Christ! We can have joy in life now and in our inheritance to come. To motivate us, consider that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is working in and through us. Let us be His Work. Allow our churches to succeed and grow in His empowerment and by His will for His glory. There is nothing better for us to know or do.
What we exemplify and teach is Faith in the Lord. Faith sees what is ahead when our eyes and thinking cannot. This is not blind faith, naiveté, or ignorance as some in our culture would have us believe. Faith is a gift from God, and it is our steadfast trust, conviction, and confidence in Who our Lord is. Faith is knowing what He has done. Faith is knowing what He does--right now--and still will do through us. Faith is knowing He is true, and we are transformed by this very faith in Christ. By faith, ordinary people became extraordinary with an everlasting legacy, reputation, and example. We are careful to remember that our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the grace of God is a gift! We can persevere and overcome tough times through faith; in this faith, we can be loving and thankful. How and why? Trust in and receive God's promises, and beware of the pride and envy that block our gratitude to Christ for what He has given us ((Matt. 21:32; Mark 1:15; John 10:10; Acts 16:31; Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 1:4; Heb. 11; James 2:19).
What we exemplify and teach is Hope. This is the confidence and conviction in God for our future that is in His hands. It is real--genuine and authentic--so we are sure in Whom we trust and to whom we go to live for righteousness. Christ is the source and application of our hope; surely, our confidence and trust is in Him. This is not a one-time encounter; rather, it is continued every day in the believer's life. We can be certain that God's promise is real and tangible even when we do not see it (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-11; 10:14-17; Gal. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; James 2:14-26).
What we exemplify and teach is Christ's Preeminence and Lordship. This is a clear proclamation that Jesus Christ is not just a god but The One True God, whose Supremacy predates time and history because He is the agent of creation! There is only One God: Jesus Christ is God. Other passages testify to the Trinitarian nature of God as in One God and three personalities, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Rev. 5:1-7, 13). This also refers to sin and the ways of the world that are meaningless and hopeless. Christ is the Perfection! He has the power and authority to be the Light and shatter the darkness on our behalf (Acts 19:13-20; 2 Cor. 3:15; 4:4-6; 6:14; Eph. 5:8-14; Phil. 2:15; Col. 1:13-18; 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:5).
This passage is a reminder Who is in control of the Church universal and local--Christ, Who is our "Head," our Superior and we are the incorporated "life." Our purpose is to worship, learn, fellowship, serve Him, and be the beacons of His Light into the community. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to one another and to what Christ has called us to do and be.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/