Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
The questionable life begins with healthy relationships. The opening pages of our Bible reveal the beauty of creation and relationships. God creates people to have a relationship with him and with each other. But a few pages later, people’s sin drastically breaks those beautiful relationships. Cain kills his brother Abel. Abraham and his nephew Lot separate over land struggles. Jacob cheats his brother Esau out of his birthright, and Esau is ready to kill him. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery out of pure hatred and jealousy, lie to their father, Jacob, and claim an animal killed him.
Yet, from the beginning, God enacts a plan to rescue people from sin and restore our broken relationship with him and each other. Jesus came to fulfill that plan and restore what sin has broken. Part of his restoration plan is to create a community of people that reflects what he intended relationships to look like before sin broke the world. The Apostle Peter watched Jesus live out this restored relationship with God and others. Peter then writes a letter to a young church to share, in practical terms, what their lives and relationships with each other should look like because of Jesus. He reveals a community that brings healing, restoration and redemption.
The church community is designed to look like a healthy family—the family we’ve always wanted. We are to care for, protect and love each other the way Jesus did for us. Yet we may talk about people from our church with the same disdain or grumbling as everyone else who bothers us or we don’t like. Jesus offers a different way to live in oneness, sympathy, brotherly love, compassion and humility. This way of life is like an island of wholeness in a sea of brokenness. It makes the world sit up and ask, “What’s going on here?”
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Reflect on how you talk to and about people in your church community. Are you quick to criticize, or does your heart reflect unity, sympathy, brotherly love, compassion and humility—especially when annoyed? Confess the times you’ve disregarded or criticized others, and thank God for his forgiveness and help to live his way.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
January is BIBLE READING. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.