Living Wonders

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction,
with the joy of the Holy Spirit…” 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7
People ask me all the time as a Pastor: “What’s the goal of the Christian life?” My answer is
pretty simple: “Grow in your character to reflect Christ, and invite someone into your life to
learn that with you.” As this week begins, that’s pretty much what my efforts are all going to be
about, for one more week. Maybe that’s the focus for you too. One key trait of a believer who
wants to imitate Jesus, according to this passage, is tribulation. But there’s a companion
possibility too: the joy of the Holy Spirit. There’s some real comfort to be found in this truth.
You see, I’ve found that people committed to becoming more like Christ seem to face more
afflictions than other people. But I’ve also found that afflictions are external, while joy is
internal. That means we can have an inner life of joy that can outshine our outer life of pain.
When people see that, they are driven to conclude only one thing: the life of Jesus inside of us
is a powerful thing. Note, this is only possible for the believer. Only he or she can cultivate inner
joy under outer affliction. When this happens, played out before the eyes of the lost world
around us, we become “living wonders” to people.
Please pray with me: Lord, I struggle under the hard things You allow into my life, but I want to
tap into the inner joy of knowing You in the midst of them. Let my lost friends see Your presence in my life today, no matter what. Help me to be a” living wonder” today, despite my pain. In Your Son’s very present Name. Amen

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