Thank you all for coming to VI this week, I loved digging into God’s word and hanging out with you all.
I don’t work off of a manuscript when I teach, though I do normally use some form of an outline. The advantages to this are a more natural delivery and the ability to go with the “feel” of the room. However, the disadvantages are sometimes you forget to say some rather important things. This was the case this week. There were 3 things in particular that I forgot to mention that I think are very important when applying this passage to our lives. Allow me to briefly elaborate on these….
1) community vs. Gospel Community – my favorite new TV show is “Community” on NBC. This TV show (along w/ many others – such as friends, seinfeld, one tree hill, saved by the bell, etc) show how a group of people live life as a (you guessed it) a community, often times for their betterment. The reason for this is simple – God created us to live in community!! So of course, as is the case with anything you do in the way God intended, there are perks available to anyone who chooses to live life with a group of people as a community. However, living simply as a community is not enough. If we want to really grow to be more like Christ, we must live as a Gospel Community. Paul says it like this “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” Do you see the distinction here? Just living in community will not produce the complete transformation we are looking for, we must be in community along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. This doesn’t mean everyone in the community has to be a “super-Christian”, it doesn’t even mean everyone has to be a Christian. But there does have to be an overall desire from the group to pursue the gospel together.
2) Youthful Passions – When talking about “fleeing from youthful passions” I believe I mentioned several examples, such as – video games, sports, boy/girl crazy, twilight, etc. I want to make sure we all understand that none of these things are inherently bad (ok, well maybe twilight). All of them are gifts from God and can be used in godly ways. Video games and sports can be great ways to rest and recreate together. The desire to date/marry is natural and a gift from God. Even twilight is a celebration of the creativity God has created us with. The list can go on and on. Please hear this, God is not calling you to stop having fun. But when these silly, temporary passions continue to dominate our time, thoughts and energy as we become adults that is not good. The problem is not the objects themselves, it is when the objects become (or continue to be) ultimate over Jesus and God’s mission for our lives.
3) Love – One way to summarize this passage may be – how we are to pursue the Gospel and grow into Christlikeness by teaching one another in love. I just want to make one distinction about the concept of love. You see, when we use words like love, peace, gentleness, kindness, etc I think we tend to read those as “passive” or “lead by example”. Doing so misses the entire point of the passage! Love is not “letting people do whatever they want.” There are many times in my life where the most loving thing someone could do for me is to tell me I am being an idiot. If we believe that the Story of God is the true story and that he created the world and everything in it to work in a certain way – then if we saw someone not living in that way, wouldn’t the most unloving thing we could do be to withhold teaching them God’s way, the true way? So love is not “letting people do whatever they want”, but rather correcting them by pointing them back towards the gospel in a gentle, kind and patient way.
Thanks for letting me clarify, hope this helps. My prayers are that we can see the great plan God has for his people living in Gospel Community and strive toward that together.