May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (Thessalonians 2:16-17)
There is nothing like a follower of Jesus who is God-inspired and God-taught. Having a conversation with a coworker yesterday reminded me of the immense difference between sustaining a life ‘God-free’ and living a life God-moved.
I remember not very long ago, both before knowing Jesus as well as after, when my life centered around my own desires with occasional random acts of kindness for my fellow citizens of the world.
I remember trying to motivate myself to press onwards – either through the few words of encouragement the world around me offered, or by completely ignoring the haunting thought that all my efforts could quite possibly be absolutely meaningless.
I remember in my attempts to build relationships or to love others, and behind it all at the core was not a desire to build and to give, but a craving for affirmation and a subtle yearning for others to replace my loneliness and lack of purpose. These efforts tainted by a sense of emptiness ultimately ended in excruciating relationships, tiring friendships, and suffocating embraces.
Today the Word of God reminds me that it is “because God first loved us…” (1 John 4:19). It is because of having received a sacrificial and pure love that is beyond any form of self-centered human love, that we able to do the same. It is because we are given ‘eternal encouragement’ and ‘hope’ that we can give out of abundance and not out of emptiness.
Sometimes in our culture it’s so rare that we hear of God and hope, but here’s something that I recently put to heart, straight from the Word of God,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).