"Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith." (1Th 3:10, NIV)
National characteristics are often reflected in the faith of Christians from different cultural backgrounds. For instance, believers from China are remarkable on the whole for their patient endurance and quiet acceptance of trouble and hardship. Believers from India are typically noteworthy for their separation from sin, their devotion, their inner stillness and peace. Believers from African countries are often characterized by their spontaneous, exuberant joy and their unquestioning obedience to the Word of God. American believers, on the other hand, tend to be visionary, dynamic, enterprising, inventive, and willing to stretch themselves to the limit
Unfortunately, these individual strengths have corresponding weaknesses. Chinese believers may easily become passive and resigned. Indian believers may separate themselves to the extent that they become aloof and detached. African believers may fall prey to oversimplification and legalistic literalism. American believers may become worldly, impetuous, headstrong, and opinionated.`
Oh, how much we need each other! How much we need contact and fellowship! We need to acknowledge and appreciate each others' strengths. We need to gently encourage, correct and compensate for each others' deficiencies.
As it is with nations, so the same could be said of denominations. Each denomination or Christian organization has its own portfolio of strengths and weaknesses. If an organization takes pride in its own strengths, while despising the weaknesses of others, then it becomes puffed up and not built up(1 Corinthians 8:1). Its works, however impressive they may seem, are wood, hay, and stubble which will be burnt up in the fire at the Last Day (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
Prayer: Father, please open our hearts towards all of Your various children, to see Your glory variously manifest through them all. Help us to see ourselves as belonging to each other, inextricably conjoined in love, just as the Father and Son are conjoined in love. Enable us to find completion in each other, as our love for each other becomes more and more complete. (John 17:21-23).
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"If one body part suffers, than the whole body suffers: if one part is honored, then the whole body shares its joy." (1 Corinthians 12:26)
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Last Revised: March 20, 1999
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