Monday, June 16, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 164: For Us and For Them

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 164, June 16, 2014
Readings: Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 15:1-18, Hosea 11:12, Hosea 12, Hosea 13:1-16, Philemon 1:4-7

Note: I'm back! I will post the link to the sermon on Isaiah when it is available. Daily progression resumes now!

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7)

This kept saying more to me when I read it. I know that in the past, I have often glossed over these thank-yous in the beginnings of some of Paul's letters. But this one stuck out to me, and so I dug deeper and pulled up the Amplified version of verse 6, which theoretically expounds upon all the meaning contained within. Check it out:

[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory]. (Philemon 1:6, Amplified)

Paul is praying that his friends not only share the gospel of Christ, but that it is shared in such a way that the community recognizes the glory of God through their evangelism. And that they, in turn, are blessed by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. It's not just a chore, a task, a piece of the grand list of requirements. No, Paul is praying that it becomes their passion. And that this passion bleeds over into the people around them, who see more than just religion.

Is that what your efforts at evangelism are like? I know mine aren't. This isn't meant to be a condemnation but an encouragement towards what it could be! We are carrying the best news on Earth, the saving grace of Jesus Christ for all who believe. How could it be a chore? How could it be a burden? How could it not bless the people around us?

I want to start praying that this is the heart God gives me towards evangelism.

No comments: