Hello and welcome to Thursday’s Foundations Podcast. Thank you so much for making the time to listen to these podcast, we hope that you are growing in your relationship with Jesus. If you have any encouraging stories to share with the team about what God has been saying to you through the podcast please let us know. We love to hear that God has been speaking! Today’s passage is 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12.
We have two children. One is a risk taker and one is not. One needs coaching to try anything remotely dangerous; the other walks around with a constant bump on his head from his ‘experiments’. I’m learning that I have to parent my two children entirely differently. With one child I’m learning to embrace the mess, the accidents, the experiments and the fact that last week I couldn’t lock our door because it turns out that that particular child had inserted screws into the mechanism! With my more risk adverse child I’m learning to speak words of confidence and affirmation over her. To encourage risk taking and maybe even a little danger. I try hard to imagine the person she is becoming and speak to that girl, the girl she is becoming.
At a conference recently I heard someone say we can speak to who people are becoming. In other words, to speak the truth over people that they are known by God, that he already knows who we will become even though they are not there yet. Our job is to lift our eyes and others’ eyes to the vision of the person God is calling us to become.
In Paul’s writing that we heard this morning, he overflows with love for the church he plants. He likens himself to a loving father encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God. Paul is doing the job of reminded them who they are becoming. He is reminded them that it is God who has called them, it is God who is doing a work in them and he hasn’t finished yet! As a loving father, Paul is coaching them to keep their eyes focussed on Jesus and to submit to the process of being transformed and changed.
I remember a particularly challenging night doing youth work many years ago. There was a young man who was being very disruptive and challenging. The world would have probably looked at this teenager and said ‘he’s done for’, ‘we know exactly where he’ll end up’. The world was painting a picture of who he was becoming. But at the end of the night one of our team sat him down, this leader sat down in front of him, put his hands on his shoulder, looked him in the eyes and said ‘you are loved by God, this is not who you are, you are delighted in by your heavenly Father, you are more’. He kept repeating and repeating this. It was a powerful moment made all the more powerful because I know that that leader had had those words of affirmation spoken over him as a young man. He was speaking to who that boy would become.
We are all called to speak life. If we believe in resurrection then we are saying that God has and is redeeming all things. That we are all in the process of becoming. We often forget this; I often forget this! I can start believing that the way I am or the situation I am in is how it will always be. I need to be reminded that the results of the resurrection are still at work in my life. That I am being transformed ‘from Glory to Glory’. I’m not the finished article yet!
I wonder who we could speak life over today? Is it our children, especially on a day when we are finding them, erm, challenging? Is it our spouse or a family member who is having a hard time? Maybe it’s a teenager who seems to be making strange choices or a colleague who seems to have lost their way. Who can we speak a word of encouragement to today, a word that speaks not to who someone currently is but the person that they are becoming?
Thank you Jesus for the truth that we have the opportunity to speak life to one another. I pray that right now you would put on our hearts the names of those who need to be reminded of who they are becoming today. Amen.
READING: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.