Friday, July 22, 2011
Life lessons from Thessalonica (part 2) - 1 Thessalonians 1 (series 1)
Things are changing in Thessalonica.
As Christ entered into people's lives and hearts, the new believers developed an increased capacity to care. As a result, they reached out in love to others, and others grew close to them as well. Barriers between people of different cultures were breached in the transforming power of Christ and new found freedom to love (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2:7-11).
3. Moral compromise was replaced by steadfastness and commitment. The courage to live by inner convictions, unswayed by circumstances, developed naturally within the growth of the new faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2:14).
At my favorite online chat, we call it #leadfromwithin. It is a growing ability to lead from your heart and inner convictions, as well as your head.
4. People's selfish motivations also underwent an increasingly dramatic change. The self-interest, materialism, natural drives and passions that once controlled thoughts and actions were replaced by new values and desires. (1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:4-6). The very core of these people's personalities underwent a gradual transformation as the new believers experienced more and more of the power of Jesus Christ.
5. Personal failures and an inability to see what they wanted to be nagged first century people, just as it does today. But much of the disappointment and shame gradually dissipated as believers discovered a new power for holiness.
6. Lack of goals and meaning. These letters from Paul show us a new sense of purpose and meaning, which could be expressed practically in daily life. A commitment to good deeds, to honest work, and to right behavior took on a fresher and deeper meaning as Christians recognized that every action could reflect on their Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
Daily duties as well as the privilege of serving others began to bring new satisfaction.
The newness of this life did not come from improved circumstances or from sudden prosperity. The newness of these people's lives were deeply rooted within the believer's own personalities.
"Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed." (Roman 12:2)
Transformation is not automatic! It is a gradual and process. As we grow and as we continue to mature, we should be able to articulate and demonstrate our deepest values to people by the way we speak and act.
Our transformations are progressive, and should touch every aspect of our lives and personalities. Each of us, and n every aspect of our lives should actively be trying to evolve into better people and better leaders.