Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1
One of the things parenting has taught me is to never miss out on being sensitive in the moment after. You can focus all you want on the moment, but the moment after is just as important when you’re dealing with kids. And in life generally. In fact, that’s when you know whether or not you really had a moment.
It’s not just the ‘yes daddy’ you get for the clear instructions that you give- you have to keep an eye for the moment after and see whether anybody even had the slightest intention of obeying; it’s not just the fun of playing with toys, you need to painfully enforce the cleaning up in the moment after; it’s not just the high energy running around you enjoyed all evening, it’s who’s going to bed-wet with the same high energy in the moment after that night; it’s not just the thank yous that you get for giving two kids a beautiful gift to share, it’s the fights you are bound to settle in the moments after.
I think Paul was super-sensitive to the ‘Moment After’ principle- he wrote the Thessalonians a second letter to follow up on his first!
We’ve spent the past five days unpacking some of the powerful things at the heart of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. But like them, we also need to be thinking of our Moment After.
You know, it’s so easy as a Christian to slip into the ‘big moment syndrome’, where the big moments are ends in themselves: Attending church is so powerful and beautiful, but Sunday ends on Sunday and has no effect on Monday; getting born again is the greatest decision we can ever make, but we end it at a decision for salvation and lose sight of the work-out of life under His Lordship; we’re all goose-bumped in a moment of sensing the Holy Spirit speaking to us with a powerful word in the middle of some heaven-on-earth worship (what a moment!), but in the moments after, the big deal is being able to proudly say ‘you know, God said to me yesterday…’, not being able to humbly obey what God told us to do.
The moments after are so powerful. That’s the true indicator of whether you even really had a moment in the first place.
There’s a brilliant example we see of the Thessalonians in their moment after. In fact, check out the 1:3s- it’s so beautiful to place 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3 side by side:
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV
Did you see that?!
The Thessalonians moved from a moment of ‘work of faith’ to ‘exceedingly growing faith’ in their moment after! And they moved from a moment of ‘labour of love’ to ‘abounding love’ in their moment after!
That’s such an encouraging challenge for us!
I believe that we can follow the Thessalonian’s example in ensuring that our moments after represent a fruitfulness with all that God is bringing us in the moments. God doesn’t want the moments slipping through our hands- he expects us to be fruitful and productive with the moments. He expects us to be like the faithful steward bringing an increase on all He’s pouring into our lives.
I challenge you today not to just be a knowledge-heavy Christian! I pray that you’ll be a knowledge-using Christian.
I sincerely think our generation is plagued with Christians who are 100 km deep in revelation, but 1 inch deep in action.
Do you just know the laws of faith or are you using them and living by them? Do you just know all the revelations about the three Greek words used for love in the Bible or are you truly walking in them? What has love propelled or ‘constrained’ you to do for a neighbour lately? Are you just in the repetitions of all the fancy quotable quotes like how we must be ‘thankful so that we can have our tank full’ or are you consciously every day, living your life on the front foot of thanksgiving to God and the people in your world? When last did you stop everything to draw up a gratitude list? When last did you do an honour check on yourself? Are you truly generous? Don’t just flood your whatsapp status with punchlines ‘Don’t tell your God about your mountain- tell your mountain about your God!’ Are you truly prayerful? In fact, for most 2020 Christians, the sad reality is that our Christianity ends at our social media posts.
Do your moments after represent a fruitfulness on your God-moments?
I pray the opportunity of a moment after will constantly move me from the base to the ‘growing exceedingly’ and ‘abounding’.
Something To Pray
We must give thanks to God for you always, Christian brothers. It is the right thing to do because your faith is growing so much. Your love for each other is stronger all the time. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 NLV
Pray today that through all the God investment in your life, you’ll have a growing faith and a stronger love ‘all the time’