And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
—1 Peter 5:10
It is often easier for us to talk about what we wish to accomplish, than it is to examine how we know that we are succeeding in doing it. We can discuss mission statements, we can delve into the theological basis for values, and we can even talk through the processes by which we will work towards these goals. The much more difficult aspect, though, is to truly look at the type of people that God will help us to become when we are living into His calling for us. Think about times in your life when you felt like you were accomplishing your goals. What did it feel like to be doing so? How were you transformed by working towards a goal? What helped you along the way?
One of the first ways in which we should respond to God is through grateful lives. Gratitude is often seen, simply, as a sense of thankfulness for the positive aspects of our lives; however, this understanding of gratitude overlooks that every part of our lives, those that we consider positives, as well as, those that we tend to view in a negative light, is a blessing, though we do not always see it that way.
Modern society has the ability to be incredibly connected to each other through the deep levels of technology that we possess that allows for global, instant communication, yet this ability also makes it much more difficult to truly be available to others on more than a surface level. When we are truly living as God desires, we not only seek to be with people but also seek to have a deeper level of relationship with them than is the norm.
One of the great challenges that we can often run into is a sense of complacency in our walk of faith, which can prevent us from seeking to grow. We can overcome this obstacle as we foster a desire to learn more about ourselves, each other, and most importantly, God. This sense of curiosity will help us to develop an ever deeper and growing relationship with our Lord, and we can feed this inquisitive spirit by studying God’s word, through the act of prayer, and by learning alongside of others.
One of the greatest blessings we can receive is the presence of people who will help us along this journey of life. These are the people who help us to answer the hard questions, who push us when we need that little extra nudge, who pray with us and beside us, or who are simply there for us. In short, we need people who encourage us, and God calls us to be encouraging people.
God of grace, we thank you that when you call us to lives of faith, you help us to see what it truly looks like to be your children. Help us to be grateful for the blessings that you have so richly showered upon us. Open our hearts to those around us, that we might be available to them and to you. Form within our minds a desire to be curious about you and foster this curiosity into ways that we might grow ever closer to you. As you have encouraged us, lead us to be encouraging to others. In Christ’s name we pray; amen.