ENDURING HARDSHIP; HELPING OTHERS
Cold Weather; Being Warmed
Cold weather, warmth and suffering hardship.
2 Corinthians 11:27 - Exposure to cold weather (without adequate protection) was
one of the hardships Paul often had to endure, for the sake of the cross.
[Read the context for some of the other things he endured.]
James 2:16 - A person may express a desire for needy brothers or sisters
to "be warmed." But if he is unwilling to help them, when he has the ability
to do so, he is expressing empty words. (His actions prove whether
his expressed desires are genuine or fake.)
TO THINK ABOUT...
Paul endured many hardships for Christ. What hardships are you willing to
endure? Have you ever wished you were a "spiritual giant" who had the ability
to endure great hardships, in order to accomplish great things for Christ?
Do you complain about bad weather (one of the things that Paul often had
to endure)? If so, maybe you can start to develop your spiritual "strength"
by learning how to be content with the weather!
When others are experiencing hardships, how do you respond? Do you simply
tell them to "have a nice day," or do you have an obligation to do more than
that? James has much to say about the relationship between what is in a person's
heart ("faith") and the actions that are visible in his life
("works"). You may wish to read the book of James and think about what
James focuses on the necessity of the actions. Other passages in
the Bible focus on the foundation that makes those actions possible: a heart
that has been changed by Christ. (This involves issues related to faith and
repentance.) Both focuses are necessary; either one by itself (while ignoring
the other) can result in a distorted perspective.
NOTE: Encouraging and helping others can come in many forms. It is not restricted
to the giving of money and possessions. There are many different types of
needs and hardships.
The topic of "Helping Others" covers a wide range of issues. You may wish
to look for other Scripture passages that focus on some of them.
The passage in James (2:16) has a primary focus on our obligations to other
Christians. (When James uses words like "brother" or "sister," he is referring
to our brothers and sisters in Christ.)
There are passages which show that we do have an obligation to
non-Christians. However, our obligations to fellow Christians (our true family
- compare to Matthew 12:49-50) is greater. Example: Galatians 6:10.
Other passages mention times when we shouldn't help a person, such
as when doing so would allow sinful conduct to continue. Example: 2 Thessalonians
psuchos, cold; 2 Corinthians 11:27
thermaino, to make warm, to heat; to warm one's self;
Dennis Hinks © 1998, 2002
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