“Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV)
As I watch the flakes fall outside my window this morning, I find myself reminiscing about the early days of my grade-school education. The first snow of the season always takes me back to the days of trudging to school at eight in the morning with boots and mitts. As the Canadian winter would advance, so would the darkness at that hour.
That memory leads to another. In fourth grade at St. Joseph’s School, Mrs. Lastuka would begin the day by getting all of us to stand to our feet and sing an acapella rendition of God Save the Queen. The song still echoes in my head, even though the memories of those days grow weaker with the passage of time. The power of melody has helped preserve them in my mind. The irony is that while I don’t have any real loyalty to the British throne, these words will forever stay imprinted on my brain.
The gospel message of Jesus Christ has endured the ages, inspiring and transforming countless billions. It has been transmitted orally and translated into hundreds of languages. It has been studied and debated by academics and laypeople alike. Its endurance over the last two millennia stands as a testament to its great worth. In fact, no other written work of any kind can compete in terms of its long-lasting popularity or its effect on reshaping modern society.
That is because the gospel message of Jesus Christ is more than just words. It is imbued with real power. Hard hearts grow soft under its light. The mightiest of kingdoms and empires fell under its judgment. The two most celebrated and popular holiday seasons of the year tell its story. Convicts have wept in repentance upon hearing it read aloud. The gospel is not good news; it is the best news you will ever receive.
Which brings me back to my original point: I know all the words to God Save the Queen, even though that is not really where my true allegiance lies. So, if we can keep the words of national anthems, catchy songs, and pledges of allegiance in our heads for decades after learning them, let us then further commit to storing up and declaring the word of power in our hearts and minds. Let us memorize the key texts. Let us sing the songs that tell the story. Let us commit ourselves to daily proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ in every sphere we enter.
Some have said that peace is the most elusive treasure in all the world. It's so hard to find. Some believe it's an illusion. Others feel it is temporary and beyond our control. But the words of God paint a different picture about finding true peace.