Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 23, 2018
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 1:1
Three of our four daughters and their families live in the city. They enjoy the benefits of closer community with school, church and friends. On occasion our youngest hosts a porch party for neighbors to gather and truly be neighbors—knowing each other and being known. But some would argue that with the same conveniences of the city come the downside of lurking crime and the temptation to worship the idols of work and affluence. City life, like all life, is not perfect, but it does allow for followers of Jesus to be salt and light in a tasteless, dark, needy society.
Such was the world, even worse, of fellow Jesus followers, who lived in the ancient seaport city of Ephesus, a culture full of idol worship and immorality. Yet Paul, with pointed pen, reminded these yet to be perfected believers of how they were holy—separated to God, for God, to grow like God, through their trust in Christ Jesus. This humble minority quickly influenced the proud majority. Like a mixture of chlorine into pool water sanitizes its make up, so the Lord uses the prayers and good deeds of His people to influence and clean up a confused, polluted society.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
To be for Christ, you must first be “in Christ”. “In Christ” means you placed your faith in His death on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins and His resurrection from the dead to be your resurrected Savior and Lord. “In Christ” means Jesus came to make His dwelling in your heart. “In Christ means” he cleaned you up and made you presentable to Holy God. So, before you attempt to do good—be good. Surrender to your Savior Jesus to make you good by His grace, so you can do good in His strength. City life in Christ is the most lasting cure for society’s ills.
Where do you start in doing good for your community? Once your strategy for doing good is firmly rooted in Christ, then ask the community what they need and humbly explain to your neighbors that your motivation for doing good is Jesus. Some may need jobs, so like City of Refuge, you can create skilled jobs that contribute to society. Others may request education, so similar to Peace Prep Academy, you can work with families desperate to educate their children in a safe environment. Or mixed-income housing may be what’s most requested in your community. Focused Community Strategies may be an approach to help you solve the housing issue. Ask your neighbors what they need so you address problems relevant to your community. You are the hands and feet of Jesus for a city in need of a Savior. Be a city dweller whose life is in Christ.
Heavenly Father, by Your grace I pray my light of love will shine brightly for Jesus in my home and community, in Jesus’ name, amen.
How can I become a part of the solution to a practical need in my neighborhood?
City life in Christ is the most lasting cure for society’s ills. #WisdomHunters #citylife
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