One more thing, friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master’s Word will simply take off and race through the country to a groundswell of response, just as it did among you. And pray that we’ll be rescued from these troublemakers who are trying to do us in. I’m finding that not all “believers” are believers. But the Master never lets us down. He’ll stick by you and protect you from evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
A groundswell of response - have you ever been in a crowd and begun to actually 'feel' that groundswell of response? It is almost palpable, isn't it? The crowd gets pumped up, they begin to sway, or jump up and down, or cheer like fanatics. All of a sudden, the masses are consumed in the response. It is hard to just sit there and do 'nothing'. At some point, you get sucked in, don't you? It could be in a positive way, or just the opposite - your emotions may take you down a path of disappointment, fear, or even grief. Usually a groundswell is a positive thing - strong support, enthusiastic response - but it can be a fearful thing for those who don't stand in support, or who find themselves on the 'losing end' of something.
Not all believers are believers - did that statement catch your eye at all as you read through that passage today? I wonder how many 'believers' actually are just part of a groundswell? They are caught up in the enthusiasm of the others around them, but haven't really made that deeply personal commitment to follow Jesus themselves. The enthusiasm of the crowd builds one's sense that something 'good' is happening around you, but if you never really commit yourself, that enthusiasm won't carry you for long! Eventually you will find yourself 'left in the dust' of those that move on in that groundswell because you won't be following the same things (or more importantly, the same Lord).
I used to think it was just okay to 'go to church', not really understanding that 'church' isn't something you 'go to', but something you ARE. We are the church - the living, breathing, and moving arms and feet of Christ's love and grace. That means we had best be about the work we are called to do. We just cannot settle for being church - goers . . . we have to become the church. God's Word is a powerful thing when God's people actually get hold of it, begin to do as it instructs, and then share that Word through the living, breathing actions of their lives. Too many times I think we believe we have to preach it from the rooftops or on the street corners - reminding all to repent now. The truth is that we 'live' more of the Word than we will ever 'preach'.
The 'groundswell' begins in our actions - not in our words. It begins in our 'being the church', not in us belonging to or attending a church. The first action of import is that of asking Jesus to be the one who controls our lives - giving our lives into his hands and believing that he is the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. The subsequent actions that come out of that commitment of heart, mind, body, and soul are what begin the groundswell! As others see God's actions within us, realizing that life-change is occurring, there is a curiosity built and a little bit of enthusiasm for what they see. In time, that life-change begins to stir that curiosity and the 'preaching of the Word' is accomplished - not through our voice, but through our actions. Just sayin!