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Monday, October 5, 2020

What Are You Chasing?

By Joe Slater

See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but  always pursue what is good both for yourselves and  for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
     In the text above, Paul’s word pursue is the same  as “persecute” elsewhere in the New Testament. It  means to chase. Saul persecuted Christians by chasing  them down to harm them. After becoming a Christian,  the same man urged the Thessalonians to chase what  was good for themselves and everyone else.
     By contrast, he urged them not to seek payback  for ill treatment. Too many are bent on revenge! Jesus  taught His disciples to “love your enemies, bless those  who curse you, do good to those hate you, and pray for  those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Revenge appeals to the flesh, but God  calls us to rise above it.
     Paul exhorted Timothy to flee the love of money  and all the pitfalls that go with it, and to “pursue  righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,  gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:9-11). A few years later Paul  urged him similarly: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who  call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
     Successfully chasing something takes energy; it  takes time; it takes determination and perseverance. Is  what you catch worth the effort? If you’re chasing  revenge, money, or fulfillment of the fleshly appetites,  you might say “yes” at first, but in the long run you’ll  be disappointed. The pursuit of righteousness and good  things, however, yields rich rewards both now and  eternally.
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


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