“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm, thus in the Lord my beloved.”
What a picture of affection and love and desire for other people to stand firm in Jesus. Like Paul writes this to these brothers and sisters in Christ and he says, “You are people I love and I long for like my joy and crown,” like to say to people, “You’re my joy. You’re my crown.” And to call them after saying, I love and long for you, my beloved, like do you feel that for other followers of Christ? Like a love for them, a longing for them such that you would say they’re your joy and they’re your crown? I think in my own life, when I think of this kind of love and longing, I immediately think of my family.
Do we long for our brothers and sisters in the church to stand firm in Jesus? May it bring us joy to see our fellow followers of Jesus standing firm in Him.
I think of my wife and my kids. I love them so much. I just long to be with them. They are my joy. I look at my wife and my kids and I have find such joy in them and I long to see them standing firm in Jesus. I pray for that more than anything else I want to live for that. I want to live to see them standing firm in Jesus. That is life to me. If I see them standing firm in Jesus, that is a joy to me. And yet here’s the picture. And that’s entirely right for me to feel as a dad for his children, as a husband for his wife. Yes. But God has also created me to feel that way for my brothers and sisters in Christ, in the church.
So not just for my physical family, but for those who are of his household, my brothers and sisters, children of God, to love and long for them to stand firm in Christ like that, to want to see them standing firm in him in such a way that it brings me joy like a crown. They’re my beloved. So this is the way God has designed for us to view one another in the church. Like yes, in our physical families. Of course. Yes, we see exhortations toward that in scripture. Yet, we also see this picture of this kind of love and longing, this kind of affection, this kind of desire to see other standing firm in the Lord, finding joy in that for brothers and sisters in the church.
And I just want to encourage us to love our brothers and sisters in the church like this. To live, to see them standing firm in the Lord. Think specifically right now in your life. Who are you living to see stand firm in Jesus? Who are you longing to see stand firm in Jesus? Who would it bring you such joy to see them standing firm in Jesus and to pray for them like that, to love them like that, to live for them like that, to literally live, to see them standing firm in Jesus to let that direct your life today and tomorrow?
How can I pray? How can I encourage? How can I do anything to serve them so that they are standing firm in you? And then if I could, and I think this is warranted by what we see in scripture, to encourage us to live for that way, not just among our current brothers and sisters in Christ, but among future brothers and sisters in Christ. Meaning to look toward people who don’t know Christ yet and to live and to long to see them standing in Christ, coming to Christ, to look at lost neighbors, coworkers, those who are apart from God right now and just to say, “How can I live so that they come to know Christ?” And think about, it makes sense. Try like, what joy would it be for you to see this person, that friend, this neighbor, that coworker, this family member come to Christ?
That would bring such joy. That’s it. That’s the kind of love we’re supposed to have and live for. We live to see others standing in Christ and not just people right around us. This is why we pray for unreached people, I think about today that Southeastern Pashayi people in Afghanistan, half a million of them, no followers of Jesus. There’s nobody longing for them right now, living to see them come to know Christ. They are totally unreached by the gospel, so who will live for them? Who will pray for them? Who will give for the spread of the gospel them? Who will go to the Southeastern Pashayi in Afghanistan.
Oh God, we pray that you would help us to live and long like this. Right around us for us to see the people you’ve put in our sphere of influence right around us. Yes, in our homes, but even beyond our homes, in your household, in your church and then those who are not yet in your church, help us to live and long to see more and more people standing firm in you, experiencing joy in you, God, it would brings such joy to us to see that. Help us to live for that. Help us to pray for that. Help us to work for that. Help us to serve others toward the end, that they might just stand firm in you. Use us today toward that end, we pray.
Help us to serve struggling brothers and sisters. Help us to share the gospel with those who don’t know you. And God, we pray. We pray for the Southeastern Pashayi in Afghanistan. Please. Oh God. Send laborers who will go and live and long for their salvation, work for their salvation. God, we pray that you would bring Southeastern Pashayi people to you. We know that Jesus, you’ve died for every tribe and tongue language, every single people group in the world. You have died to purchase them for God. So God, please, we long for them to come to know Christ and we pray that you would send laborers to them. Lord, help us to live and long for to find the joy in our crown and seeing more and more people stand firm in you. Use our lives toward that end today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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