What do you want to be when you grow up? Not for an occupation. What kind of person do you want to be?
How about “strong, blameless, and holy”? Sounds good to me, too.
Bad news, though. You can’t do it. Only God can pull off a trick like that one.
As a result, Christ will make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy …. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 (NLT)
It’s a God-task, not a me-task.
But check out the first three words of the verse: “As a result.” The NIV misses it, but the Greek backs it up. In verse 13, God’s work of making our hearts strong, blameless, and holy comes as a response to whatever is in verse twelve. And that says…
May the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else... 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NLT)
In other words, as your love grows and overflows to others, God transforms your heart.
Too often, we act like service (reaching out to others) and transformation (God changing us from the inside out) are two separate things. But the Bible is clear. God transforms us as we reach out to others.
And Paul is very clear who we’re to reach out to. “Each other and everyone else.” Those who attend church with us and those who don’t. Or, simply put, everybody.
Now think about that a second. Have you ever considered that when we reach out to others, when we go all out to help other people connect with God, it strengthens our own connection with God and helps us grow to be more like Him?
So, when we start doing all the things we’ve been discussing to help reach more people for God, we’re not just helping them.
In pouring God’s love into their lives, we’re pouring God’s power into our own.