I love chapter five of First Thessalonians, so much, that I could spend the next year here!
Its one of those passages that could be read every day for hope and instruction.
It resets our perspective and priorities. It helps us know how to live and encourages us to remember Who has us.
Will you take a few moments and read chapter five?
(I hope you will really read it. His Words are the best words! The only perfect words!)
Paul has just talked in his letter about the return of the Lord, and then he tells believers to not overly concern themselves with needing to know exactly what day that will be; but they are to watch and be ready. (1Thess 5:1-6)
Are we watching? Or are we concerned and distracted with the things of this world?
It’s so easy to get consumed with things here…grocery lists, doctors appointments, political news, work responsibilities, Christmas shopping, planning a wedding (that’s me right now!), covering gray hair (also me)…
LOTS of THINGS!
But we know, Christ IS coming back. Will He find us ready?
Paul tells us the time of Christ’s return can be characterized as labor pains upon a pregnant woman- (increasing in time, and intensity). (1Thess 5:3)
And I wonder, are we seeing some of this now?
And, if we are, what are we to do?
Paul says don’t sleep (1 Thess 5:6), and the word he uses for “sleep” here is not the same word in chapter four that means rest. This word means don’t be spiritually lax (Hiebert).
He then gives a list of instruction as to how to live so we aren’t spiritually lax—
- Watch (v 6)
- Be sober (not distracted, or drunk on the things of this world) (v8)
- Put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation. (v 8)(we are in a spiritual battle, so get your armor on!)
- Remember, no matter what comes, you’ve been saved and will live forever with Jesus (v10)
- Comfort each other (v 11)
- Edify one another (v11) (instruct morally)
- Recognize those who labor among you (v12)
- Be at peace with each other (v 13)
- Warn the unruly (v 14)
- Comfort the faint hearted (v 14)
- Uphold the weak (v 14)
- Be patient with all (v 14)
- See that no one renders evil for evil (v15)
- Pursue what is good (v 15)
- Rejoice always (v 16)
- Pray without ceasing ( v 17)
- Give thanks in everything as the will of God for you (v 18)
- Do not quench the Spirit or despise prophecies (v19-20)
- Test all things (v21)
- Hold fast to what is good(v 21)
- Abstain from every form of evil (v 22)
And as you do these things, you will be blessed and your whole spirit, soul and body will be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord. (v 23)
So, how are you doing at these things? Did you breeze through that list?
What if we actually slowed down and asked the Lord to examine our lives and our hearts regarding the things above?
Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to convict us in any area that is lacking. Perhaps, prayerfully read through the list Paul gave us again. Let’s don’t give the enemy one inch of ground to mess in our lives.
Let’s do these things, because He who calls us is faithful. He will do it! (v 24)
Friend, He is our help and strength.
Oh Lord, examine us. Use us. May others see You in us and be drawn to the only hope for this world!
What a Savior! All glory to Him!