LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

As we travelled out into the mountain regions of Mindanao, I was reminded of my first trip to the Philippines thirty-two years earlier. I was one of the support staff to the ministry founder and director Keith Williams. As we approached one of the villages, he turned to me and asked me to preach. I agreed, but my mind raced to figure out what the Lord would have me say. Then Dr. Williams said this. “Just encourage them so they endure what’s ahead.”

Now, as we travelled to remote areas of poverty and hardship, I was prepared to encourage them to endure. Prior to my arrival I had been praying and seeking the Lord, and I was led to these verses written by the Apostle Paul:

Romans 15:5–7 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Look how God is described. He is the God of endurance and encouragement. I was struck with the simple truth that I am not responsible for anyone’s endurance or encouragement. Oh sure, I am commanded by Jesus to be an encourager, but the best encouragement for anyone is to introduce them to the God of endurance and encouragement.

It is so easy for us in our human nature to look to others for the things that can ultimately only be supplied by God through Jesus Christ. Why does our emotional state depend so much on the circumstances of life? Why do we get tossed about so easily on the waves of human emotions just because other people aren’t meeting our expectations? Why are we living in such disharmony with people when the God of endurance and encouragement grants us the privilege of living in harmony with others?

The answer is simple yet deeply convicting. It’s because we are not living in accord with Christ Jesus. We are not focused on the unity we have in Jesus, but rather we are focused on bringing everyone into agreement with our perspective.

The God of endurance and encouragement has granted us a solution to relational conflict. When we individually live in accord with Jesus Christ, we will with one voice glorify God. When we are at odds with others, and our endurance is coming to an end, we have two choices. We can either hunker down in the foxhole of our own pride and preferences and push people away, or we can rise up in the endurance and encouragement of God and welcome one another just as Christ has welcomed us.

The choice is yours. Where will you turn for encouragement and endurance? To people? To solving life’s problems? To making sure you are right? Or will you humble yourself and turn to Jesus and bring your life into agreement with His character and principles. I choose God, because God is the only perfect source of endurance and encouragement.

Pastor John

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