Father I’m a bit tired, I’m a bit weary. I ask that my soul be rested and grateful in these few moments now as I share with my family about Your Word and Your Love.
"May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ."
2nd Thessalonians 3:5, NLT
Lately, I have been enthralled with delving headlong into the expansive history that surrounds the writings of Paul. Understanding the immediate context around his writing has given me much insight and relevance to how he began, continued, and concluded each of his letters. Knowing the life that Paul had been previously associated with--him as a thug or gangster who killed Jesus followers without thinking twice--allows for further insight. I’m paraphrasing of course but God shows up and radically changes his life. Paul becomes a pioneer of the christian community in the early church.
There’s something that I so love about the way Paul lived: he lived with the reality that God is right here. I think this is why Paul was so passionate about reaching out to early Christ followers. Many still saw Christianity as a set of rules that were so impossible to reach that many gave up before the gate even opened. Paul wanted to change their thinking completely, using love as a catalyst.
Tuesday night I spent the evening with the amazing staff and leadership of 2911 to discuss our future vision. Moments before this in my car, where God and I usually end up doing most of our talking and occasional wrestling, I had a revelation.
I found that as I fall more in love with Jesus I begin to extend myself and live beyond myself and before I know it, I’ve forgotten about me... I begin giving my time, ears, hands, words, and whatever else to reach others around me. I begin to live in this reality where I’m loving without compromise. I’m seeing people differently and I’m loving better and I’m serving without taking a moment to think about my comfort zone--because Jesus calls us beyond even the places where we say we’ll never go. How glorious it is to live beyond ourselves!
Please don’t think that I experience this everyday--my relationship with our Savior will never be perfect on this planet. But I am living for those moments in which I find myself falling more in love with what He has for me next and I am so beyond excited that I often find myself sobbing while I’m cruising down the freeway saying, “Just show me what’s next because no matter the journey you are my Father and you will take care of me, so let’s go!” Because in that moment, God was right there. And in this moment, God is right here.
The most incredible part about living in this God-is-right-here reality is that you forget who you are to the world and you realize who you are in Christ. You become addicted to this lifestyle that’s all about love because He’s all about love. Your heart leans into a fuller understanding of the love of God. When speaking to my fiancée the other night she asked what I want my life to look like in the future. I said I want to live a life so addicted to Christ that when (God willing) my little boy and/or girl shows up, they grow up with a reality that God is big and real and loves us. I want them to be surrounded by the culture of 2911 as they grow and because of that atmosphere they just believe that it’s normal to serve, normal to give, normal to live and speak with love.
I think this is what Paul was trying to get across to these new blossoming Christ followers. He prays that God will lead them to a full understanding and expression of His love. Once you’ve begun to understand and experience His love, the lifestyle in which you will find yourself is framed by living for others. Paul had a heart for creating community, and I believe this must be a reality that we carry and create as we love others.
I believe Paul is saying:
“May God allow you to find and live a life so addicted to His love that your soul may rest in the understanding that God has secured every victory on your behalf.”
Devotional written by Sam Paul and edited by Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Zion Rempel.