Today’s readings.. (Joshua 7), (Isaiah 11), (2 Thessalonians 3)

Today, more than ever before, we live in a herd environment, a human herd.  Mass advertising in a great variety of media confronts us hour after hour, this creates a herd mentality. We reflected on this as we read Paul’s words this morning.  He told the Thessalonians that we “give you in ourselves an example to imitate.” [2 Thess. 3:9]  What do we imitate? What or who do we take as our examples in life?  An equally important question – why do we see them as examples that we might feel inclined to imitate?  Bad examples surround us!   But there are other things that are in some aspects good, but are dangerous in other ways! In these cases we need to acknowledge the good but be conscious of the potential for danger, seeing the aspects that could be deceitful, as Paul did.  

    Do you remember what he wrote about sin in Romans ch. 7?  Verse 11 challenges our understanding.  Paul wrote, “For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me …” Yet, the next verse says, the “law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” 

What does he mean?  It appears to us that in studying the law and keeping them they became proud of their righteousness, that pride, deceived them! Now he was a follower of Christ, Paul sees life through Christ’s eyes, he now has what we might call, a down to earth perspective. He  writes, “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it … that we might not be a burden to you.” [v.7,8]  

So we need to ask ourselves – are we pulling our weight, doing our share?  We live in a world (in the west in particular) where getting something for nothing is the aim of quite a percentage of the population.  Some have seen a career in ‘Christianity’ as a means of making a living with very little hard work attached to it.  This is sometimes evident in India, especially if some overseas organisation is pouring in money. 

In this country the degree of ‘social welfare’ encourages some to try to live ‘idle’ lives, but the true believer must have an attitude that is the very opposite.  Soon we will be reading the letter to the Hebrews where it is stated, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” [Hebrews 13:7] They did not have the blessing of a Bible to read every day and we cannot help but think that, if they had, they would have read it every spare moment – and made as many such moments as possible.  Today with so many Bibles available, it is vital we ask ourselves what part does God’s word take as we live each day?    

One of the smallest “books” in the Bible is the 3rd letter of John. Let’s take our final point from what he wrote at the end of his long life. “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.  Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” [v.11]  What will you do today that you would call “good”? We should read the Bible with such dedication of mind that we “see” God.

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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