Hard to believe that we are entering the 2nd month of a New Year! The cold weather comes and goes – the months come and go quickly – the Lenten Season (which is late this year!) comes before you know it, and soon we’ll be looking back on it – changes in our families (and church family) come and go as kids grow up, folks pass away and people move to new destinations – and even highs and lows in the church’s ministry come and go. With all the comings and goings in life and in the church – I want to focus on a few words that flow from our passage above.
COMMITMENT – Let’s start with the word ‘Commitment’. It is a lost word in our society today – one that we – especially the church – needs to reclaim! In this list of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ from Galatians in the message version, the words most connected with commitment are faithfulness (involved in loyal commitments) and patience (a willingness to stick with things). We need those commitments in the church family – commitment to worship regularly and give regularly – to get involved, and stay committed to whatever ministry you are involved in (Youth Group; Teaching; Mission; Fellowship; etc.) It all comes down to staying committed to the church because you are committed to Jesus! We stay committed not because it’s always easy – but because our Lord wants us to be faithful to himself!
CONVICTION – Conviction is strongly connected to ‘able to marshal and direct our energies wisely’ above – or ‘self-control’ in most versions and ‘a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people – or ‘goodness’. In other words, the Holy Spirit directs us to make good choices, and CONVICTS us with our choices and it helps us realize that God works good through people and situations! When we make ‘bad choices’ we know it, and we are convicted to seek forgiveness and head in the direction God wants us to go. In the church we need to be convicted to make good spiritual choices, including choices that are going to keep us connected with Jesus.
COMPASSION – Above we have ‘affection for others’ (Love) and ‘a sense of compassion in the heart’ (Kindness). When we display compassion, we know that by caring for and loving others – we are really caring for and loving God Himself! Having a heart for Jesus makes all that we do sprout from love and kindness – and makes us want to stay committed and to accept conviction. Our compassion keeps us connected to one another!
CELEBRATION – Then we Celebrate – or as our passage says, ‘we show an exuberance for life’ (JOY). Worshiping God keeps that joy at the forefront. Worship holds it all together my friends! It’s never too late to start anew. Even with our ever-changing lives and ever-changing church – Jesus is the same always. Renew your commitment – listen in your heart to God’s convictions – do everything with compassion – and worship the Lord ALWAYS in joy!
See you in church!
In Jesus’ Love – Pastor Dan