"Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
You cannot seek the welfare of the city from a distance. It requires personal investment, breaking down walls, and serving the needs of others. Rather than pushing inward, Christ-centered community reaches out. The imagery of a real community is an extended hand. The object of our mission is people.
The fuel to love others and seek the welfare of the city comes from knowing we carry the integrity of His image and influence of His love where we go. We see our life change as a small part of the bigger picture. Having felt the amazing love of Christ firsthand, we desire for others to experience the one thing that has transformed our lives.
As God molds our own heart, He invites us to bring His message of hope to the places around us. The love we have experienced demands the response of making room in our lives to come alongside others who are hurting, lost, and without hope. Reflecting a personal God requires entering people’s worlds. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul speaks of this relational aspect of change when he says, “we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our very own selves.”
Each part of the body participating in this effort is critical in reflecting His image. If one part remains disengaged, it lessens the overall influence and impact of the body. He has drawn you to Himself and placed you in this body to participate in reaching those you know and helping them walk with God.
For you, this might mean raising children in a way that honors God, being a light in the secular workplace, or caring for a friend who is wrestling with some difficult issues. God has placed you where you are for a purpose. It is our job to pray for eyes to see where we influence the lives of others.
Like Christ, we must be willing to move into relationships with those who might not look, act, behave, or believe like us. A surprise twist comes at the end of our efforts to impact others and affect change in their lives. God uses our obedience in caring and serving others to breathe life into our souls by stretching us and molding us into His image. In those thousand little things, God's heart becomes reflected in our own.
Through our attempts to love others, God transforms us, teaches us, and reveals more of His character. The depth we crave in our walk with Him develops as we follow a simple command: seek the welfare of the city.
How are you seeking the welfare of this city?
In what ways are you impacting those around you?
God, help me to see the needs of those around me. Give me the eyes to notice where I can be used. May I put my faith in action. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.