New Beginnings Start Here

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” ...God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. (Romans 15:1-6) 

We are to live strong - robust, able to stand up to the tests of life. Strength can be mental power, physical ability, and even moral firmness. It is something developed over time - not something which comes as a matter of inheritance. You can desire to be strong, but what brings strength is the exercise of the strength you possess until you begin to reveal you possess an even greater strength. Strength is sometimes not used the way God would intend for it to be used. When we possess mental, physical, and even spiritual strength, God wants us to use it as he would intend for us to use it - not in any manner which causes harm, destroys others, or leaves emotional scarring.

Strength is for service, not for status - true enough statement, but how do we put this into practice in our lives? We are to look after the good of the people around us - asking ourselves how it is we may help them in their time of both need and plenty. We find it easy to help when someone is at their strongest, but how about when they are at their weakest? Do we see them as a "drain" on us? Do their problems seem like too much of a bother for us to get involved in? Do we see their struggle as something they just need to "get over"? If we are to use our strength for service (as Jesus did), then we need to be operating as Christ did - not in avoidance mode, but in embrace mode! Jesus didn't avoid your troubles any more than he avoided mine. He took them to the cross with him and dealt with them there.

You may never know when the strength you possess is the strength prepared in you for the purpose of meeting the needs of another. We possess strength so we can use it to help one another out wherever the need presents itself. People who are strong in the Lord are involved in the lives of others. They don't pull back, isolate, and run from those times when things might get a little messier than they'd like. Jesus got right in the middle of the messes of our lives. It is "in the middle" that we are most effective - for strength is meant for the "middle" moments!

Jesus is all about "beginnings, middles, and new beginnings" in our lives and he wants us to be involved in the middle of people's lives, so they have the hope and potential of new beginnings! 

What matters most to Jesus is that his children are drawn closer to him, deeper into relationship with each other, and away from the messes of their past. Our part is in this is quite simple - to be in the middle of the mess, offering our strength in their weakness, and affording the help needed to see their "middle" become the launching pad for a new beginning in life. Just sayin!

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