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“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1:3 NIV)

Jesus inspires our good works.

If it weren’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t forgive.  He teaches us what forgiveness is by His example.  Think about the person you are the most mad at right now.  Would you even try to forgive them if it wasn’t for Jesus?  I wouldn’t.  But because I believe in God, I work at forgiving those who hurt me.  As I work at forgiving, I discover what my role in the situation is.   Issues that need addressing from within me come out as I try to forgive others.  

For instance, jealousy; as I’ve worked through forgiving someone, I’ve seen my jealous nature.  I’m much more aware when I’m experiencing jealous feelings.  Also, I’ve recognized a lie I’ve believed about jealousy.  When I was little and having friend problems, I would talk to my mom.  Often, her summation of the situation was that they were jealous for whatever reason.  My ego developed around my mother’s words.  Recently, my husband pointed out to me; jealousy isn’t the answer for every issue.  My mother wasn’t wrong; she was probably right.  However, the way I processed her words weren’t how she meant me too.  In other words, the answer to every relationship issue isn’t jealousy.

Working to identify and deal with deep-seated issues isn’t easy. When bonds break, freedom comes.  If I didn’t follow Jesus, I wouldn’t do any good works.  Instead of forgiving, I’d stew in my anger and plot revenge.  I’d live my life based on unintentional lies that I believed.  But because of Jesus, I let go of the negative, striving for the positive.

Jesus is the motivation.

If we do what Jesus did, instead of arguing over what He meant, good works will abound. People debate and interpret God’s word regularly.  Perhaps one of the devil’s most fantastic tricks is getting believers to argue over God’s commands.  However, Jesus made our mission on earth very clear: Love God, Love Others (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).  

What Jesus simplified, people complicate.  Instead of doing what God wants, we argue over what He means.  As a result, nothing gets done.  But if we stop arguing and start doing, life change occurs for all.

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thess. 1:6 NIV

Become an imitator of Jesus. Imitating Him results in good works.

Question of the Day:

How can imitating Jesus inspire you today?

Further Reading:Jeremiah 12:1-14:10 NIV, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:8 NIV, Psalm 79 NIV, Proverbs 24:30-34 NIV

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