Today marks the third anniversary of our preacher with this congregation, and those of us who were together back then had come to a crossroads in our spiritual lives. At that time, we studied about how to move forward from where we were, and we have indeed come far since then – achieving yet another crossroads in the step we are reaching in adding on to our building. Whenever we come to a crossroads, we should stop. look, and listen.
Things We Should Stop
We should stop arguments. In John 6, after the feeding of the multitudes, after Jesus walks on water, the people come to Jesus again, and He chastises them for seeking Him for the wrong reason. In John 6:43, Jesus tells those followers to stop grumbling and arguing among themselves, such discouragement which leads to many turning from Jesus in verse 66. In Luke 22:24 and Mark 9:34, the apostles are recorded as arguing with each other, and our own disputes discourages ourselves, those around us, and our Lord.
Additionally, we should stop being judgmental. In Romans 14, a congregation is divided over the non-scriptural issue of eating certain meats, and, in verses 12-13, Paul concludes that we will all be judged by God, so we should stop trying to find fault in one another. Yes, we are to judge righteous judgment and keep each other from sin. However, our standards should be based on God’s will and not our own. In I Corinthians 14:20, Paul reminds us to not be as children in our knowledge and understanding. (However, we should be forgiving and pure as children.) Verse 1 simply states to follow after love, and, if we do that, we can avoid the problems of being argumentative and judgmental as well.
Things to Look Out For
In John 4:35, Jesus tells His followers to look around and see the opportunities that are open to them. Philippians 2:4 admonishes to look after the needs of others. Christ did not sacrifice Himself because He was looking out for Himself. He did that because of His interest in our souls, and we should be emulating that attitude. We should be looking around, caring for the interests of others. In Colossians 3:1-2, Paul reminds us to look up, and seek those things that are above. We have to look outside the walls of our congregation. We have to look out for others, and we should be focusing upward on the goal set before us.
Listening As We Should
James 1:19 reminds us to listen to one another. Instead of focusing on having our own say, we should be eager to listen to the needs, troubles, and celebrations of others. How many of us begin to form a response while we are supposed to be listening to someone. Also, this listening is to come with understanding. Think about Corinth and all of the backgrounds those people were bringing with them to the congregation, and Paul continually beseeches them to be understanding toward each other. We are to forbear with each other, and this assumes we may not always agree.
We should additionally be listening to our shepherd as in John 10:27, and this hearing leads to obedience and action as illustrated in James 1:21-25. We should be active listeners, eager to absorb God’s word and subsequently implement it in our lives.
Once we stop, look, and listen, then we are ready to move forward as a group of believers with our Lord. We will face many crossroads in our physical and spiritual lives, and we can face these challenges if we do so with a heart that is willing to love our brothers and sisters, look to our God, and listen to His word.
lesson by Tim Smelser