12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. 13 Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are disorderly. Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. 16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good.
We just a had a snowstorm that left a good six inches of snow on the ground. After the snow has fallen, you get to see the footsteps left in the snow from birds, rabbits, cats and dogs. I watched out the window as a father walked ahead of his small child, the parent stepping into the fresh snow and the child following, stepping into his father’s footsteps that made a path in the snow. It’s much easier to follow a path already laid out, than to struggle creating a path on your own.
The reading today lays out a path for us to follow. It is the path of discipleship laid out for us by Jesus, to put our footsteps into the footsteps of Jesus. Paul reminds us what the path of following Jesus looks like, and what to look out for so we aren’t led astray. Following in Jesus’ footsteps we love others, living in peace with everyone, and encouraging those who lose their way, while comforting the discouraged. We are to help the weak in faith and the faint hearted, and to be patient with everyone. We’re not to seek retribution but to repay evil with good towards all.
Following in Jesus’ footsteps requires constant prayer, rejoicing in our Savior and giving thanks in every situation, because it is God’s will for us to grow closer to God. We need to be open to the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit who comforts and helps us by guiding and teaching us. If we ignore the Spirit, then the flame within us will flicker out and with it the power and guidance the Spirit provides for us to follow Jesus. The path of discipleship calls for us to step into the foot steps of Jesus, listen to the Spirit, serve others, persevere in faith and love everyone, as we grow closer to God.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Jesus went ahead of us and laid out a path for us to follow. Are you stepping into the footsteps of Jesus, or following your own path? Today, think about what you need to add to your discipleship journey. Is it more prayer to grow closer to God, more patience, or is it experiencing joy in the Lord or listening to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Ask God to help you to grow in following Jesus.
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, open us to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we follow the disciples’ path, in the footsteps of Jesus. Amen.