Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1: 1-3

 

Even the greeting in Paul’s’ letters carries weight. It has content and meaning. The Apostle tells us something about the way that he views God’s people and about the way that God desires for His entire kingdom to live. God called this man Paul out of the life that he had settled quite comfortably into, and the Lord had redirected him toward a life of service to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That change of course was radical in the extreme. Now Paul was already an all-in engaged worker in service to God. However, the problem was that Paul had no idea of who God truly was or about the way that the Lord was already working out the salvation of His creation.

 

So, the risen Christ pursued Paul, in a real sense He hunted him down, and Paul turned to Christ as his true Lord and master. From that point forward all of Paul’s life was committed to following Christ and to living as a servant of God’s will. As Paul greets the people of the church in Corinth and includes them with all of Christ’s followers in other places, he indicates that they all are recipients of the cleansing salvation that God granted through Jesus Christ and that they too, like Paul, were called by God into service to His kingdom. In Paul’s view of things he did have a special calling as an apostle that carried with it certain obligations and duties, but all people who follow Christ are called to live in a like manner.

 

We are granted the blessing of adoption into God’s holy family. Thus, we are all placed under the authority and the lordship of Christ. We are not just granted the gift of grace which saves us from our sinful state of existence, but we are filled with Christ’s grace which frees us to engage with our world fully and totally as Jesus, Himself, did while bodily on earth. Christ also provides His people with the peace of eternity that allows us to live in the center of love with its calming influence on our hearts and minds. This is a peace that spreads the holy oil of God’s blessing upon the troubled waters of our world. This is a peace that allows God’s grace and His desire for reconciliation the opportunity to speak salvation to the lost. As followers of Christ, we are all called, like Paul, to live continually in the reality of God’s grace and peace, and we are also commissioned by God to be a source of that same grace and peace in our world.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2: 16, 17

 

There are times when the most productive thing that I can do seems to be nothing. These are moments when my busy, racing mind needs to stop its churning and when my straining heart requires a little down time, too. This is a bit like that point in a home improvement project when the battery on my cordless drill runs out of electrical charge, and I need to go put it into the charger for a while before I can continue to use it. The loss of this essential tool forces me to stop, look at what I am doing, and consider what my next steps should be. The down time from the activity also seems to open my thinking to what will be the best approach to the rest of the project.

 

Of far greater importance is the time that I take to reflect on God and on what He has done and will do in me and through my life. Some of these stop and reflect times need to be long periods of prayer and meditation; yet, sometimes they are just a pause to speak to Him about the immediate need and to listening to God’s response in the middle of it all. The Lord delights in the time that we take to engage Him in conversation, He is always available, and there is nothing that the Spirit of Christ does not want to be involved in, either.

 

God brings us the encouragement of His love, He assures us of our place in His heart and in His house, and the Lord also comforts our fears and our concerns about the direction that we are to go in this life. He brings clarity and focus to our minds, and He provides the solid basis that we need to live courageously. As we look on the face of God, as we consider His love for us, and as our hearts are encouraged by Him; we should also begin to see the new being that we have become through Jesus. It is as this new person, in Christ, that our heart is made strong and our purpose made clear.