Sometimes the kindest things done can emerge from the most difficult challenges. Looking back, can you see God’s mercy in the midst of something which seemed harsh or unpleasant to you at the time?
Every one of the early churches experienced in-common challenges, but each were tailored to their own cities and settings.
James addresses the difficult balance of faith and works. Galatians speaks to the syncretic blending which was occurring within the expanding Gentile work through Holy Spirit. The Thessalonians were admonished to move forward as they built upon the basics and lived this life in light of the one that is to come.
1 Corinthians calls upon these believers to build solidly and avoid the pitfalls of pride, recognition, and quarreling with one another. The “love chapter” (13) is rightly seen as God’s expose’ on what true love looks like. As we follow the examples in the God Story, we are provided a pivot in chapter 10. We can remain a Christ-follower 1.0 or we can press on instead to more mature upgrades of our hearts.
In 2 Corinthians we are reminded of the personal nature of the work of the Good News. Paul’s life included very little smooth sailing – mostly storms. Obedience brought with it persecution, and persecution necessitated perseverance. Those who love Jesus from the heart will rededicate ourselves to the truth over and over again. And we will take the prophetic words handed down to us, and build our lives upon the Rock rather than sand. Corinthian clarity.
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
– 1 Peter 4:7-11