Did you know that by continually extending love and joy in the presence of anger or affliction that you are building the Kingdom of God here on earth?
2 Thessalonians 1:3-11 tells us that endurance and faith in persecution and affliction are evidence of God’s consideration for worthiness of the Kingdom of God. So just what does that mean in everyday life?
I don’t know about you but sometimes these days I just want to hole up in my house and not interact with or participate in life right now.
Please tell me you sometimes feel the same!
Instead of hiding though, we are asked in verse 11 to let God make us worthy of His calling and to fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. I was sort of cringing about this list til I got to the words “by his power”.
OK, we can do this! Here we go:
1. God makes us worthy of his calling. Oh yeah, it’s not my power but God’s power. That I can be on board with. Whenever I can’t, God can. Rejoice in all things!
2. “Fullfill every resolve for good”. Hmmm. I’m really good at resolving but not necessarily good at fulling every resolve. I looked up the Greek word used that was translated as “good”. It means virtue, beneficence, kindness. Well, I smile at everyone I meet when out walking, regularly pick up mail for a housebound neighbor and visit her, call my mother frequently, cook for those in need, send happy notes and cards to friends and family to pick up their spirits. Does that count?
In verse 3, Paul writes that the evidence supporting the presence of the Kingdom of God on earth is “the love of you for one another grows ever greater.” Have you noticed that you have actually gotten closer to your neighbors? You keep in better touch with friends and family? You are kind to strangers? A lot of people tell me they interact now with people whom they have never really spent time with before. The real test though is how do we treat those who annoy or anger us.
3. “Fulfill every work of faith.” “Work” is action and deeds. It isn’t enough to resolve or think about something, we actually have to DO something. That very action is a profession of our faith. Good news — those magic words… “By his power.” And that is where the endurance comes in. It’s not enough to be kind once in the face of opposition and affliction. It is the continual endurance of sowing love and joy in the presence of anger that builds the Kingdom of God.
Even when we don’t feel like smiling, doing good, helping others, or being kind to those who annoy or anger us, God has the power. A quick prayer in those times of persecution or affliction gives us the resolve to let the hurt or annoyance evaporate. Even if all we cry to God is, “Help!”. It is amazing what a difference something as minor as a smile or a tiny act of kindness can do to increase love rather than anger, not only in ourself but in the recipient.
You are probably already doing something toward building the Kingdom of God on earth. Usually we only acknowledge our faults rather than our good qualities. Remember, it is in God’s power that we do these things. To ignore them then, is to deny God’s glory or give credit where it belongs.
So…How are you building the Kingdom of God?