Be Still Know
Philippians 1.15 and 18 NLT
‘It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives… Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.’
From time to time we probably all think how nice it would be to live in a dream world where everyone agreed with everyone else. We could then get on with living our Christian lives with the confidence that what other people said was a mirror image of our own thoughts. But now we must leave our dream world and enter the one in which we actually live! In our world people disagree on almost every subject and Christian faith attracts the complete spectrum of reactions. There are people who love every word we speak, and others who hate it with a passion. And, as Paul observed, people speak in a whole variety of ways. Some are loving and gracious, others are bitter and divisive. It’s all very confusing but Paul draws a strong and interesting conclusion. Amidst all the confusion he recognises that what really matters is that the name of Jesus is being preached. Of course, he would much rather everyone spoke of Christ in the same way as he did, but that belongs to the dream world where God hasn’t asked him to live. In the real world we have to get on with the confusions that come with it.
In the middle of summer it may seem strange to think about Christmas but I am really grateful that our country stops for Christmas and pays so much attention to it. My reasons are exactly the same as Paul’s. I fully recognise that many people will just see it as a holiday, or a season to make a lot of money. But I love the fact that in our post- Christian and materialistic society we are given the opportunity to promote the story of Jesus’ birth. More than three times as many people attend church over the Christmas period when compared with the rest of the year, and millions more will sing carols which clearly affirm the Good News. I think we ought to stand with the apostle Paul and rejoice.
QUESTION: How do you react when people speak about Jesus in a way that you dislike?
PRAYER: Loving Father, help me to do everything I can to help people to hear about Jesus. Amen
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