Effective living pt 1
Effective living part 1,
Thessalonians was written to encourage the church to continue to strengthen its faith. In this book, Paul provides practical keys to Christian living in preparation for the return of Christ. In chapter 5 Paul divides his suggestions into 2 areas: Our relationship with others, found in verses 11 – 15 and our relationship with Christ, found in verses 16 – 22. Let’s look for a moment at our relationship with Christ as Paul describes it in Thessalonians 5, verses 16 – 22:
Rejoice evermore16. Pray without ceasing17. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you18. Quench not the Spirit19. Despise not prophesyings20. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good21. Abstain from all appearances of evil22.
Paul provides 6 keys to remember as we live for Christ each day.
The first key in our relationship with Christ is to REJOICE. Verse 16 states to “Rejoice evermore.” Our rejoicing should not fluctuate with our experiences. This is not to suggest that we rejoice or be cheerful AT our difficult experiences in life but that we hold fast to our joy in God’s WORKING in our difficult experiences. The understanding that God is much bigger than our problems helps us to focus on the end result God has promised us. Think about the many times God has brought you through a difficult period in your life. How happy you were when God finally delivered you. Now, rejoice and expect the same deliverance while you are going through future difficulties. REJOICE always.
Another key Paul gives us is to REVEAL. That is, to reveal our needs and our feelings through prayer. Verse 17 reads “pray without ceasing.” Having a prayerful attitude is just as important as regular prayer times. Throughout your day pray short small prayers expressing your needs, desires, your thanks, your confusion or concerns. Revealing and telling everything to God is his purpose for prayer. God hears and answers as your reveal yourself to Him.
Along with REJOICING evermore and REVEALING all to Him, we must REVERENCE God by giving God thanks in everything. Show your reverence for God by thanking Him for who he is. It is good to know the names of God but who and what is God to YOU? It is the will of God that he is your provider, protector, teacher, counselor, defender and anything else you can think of. God is more than what he can do for you. REVERENCE God for who he is in your life.
Another key to Christian living is to RELEASE. Verse 19 advises us to “quench not the Spirit.” This refers to the releasing of your spiritual gifts to benefit others. Are you quenching the Spirit by sitting on the gifts God has given you? All of God’s children can benefit from the spiritual gifts He has seeded in you. Just as you need your body parts to survive, the body of Christ needs your spiritual gifts to thrive. 1st Corinthians 12 illustrates that one gift is not more important than another because they all come from the same Holy Spirit. Think about how you can RELEASE your spiritual gifts in your church, family and community.
As you are REJOICING always, REVEALING all to Christ, REVERENCING God, and RELEASING your spiritual gifts, don’t forget to RECEIVE the word of God through his teachings. Verses 20 and 21 read “Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” RECEIVE the word of God not only from your personal studies but from people that God has placed in your life to bring you the truth. This could be a Christian friend, a minister, a teacher or a Pastor. Sometimes, we hear a word that we know is true but refuse to accept it. We should always remain teachable; accepting that which is true and rejecting that which is false.
Finally, Paul advises us to RESIST evil and temptation. All of God’s children have areas of easy temptation—and they are not the same for all people. Paul admonishes that we are careful not to entertain temptation. You wouldn’t place yourself in harms way by walking into the middle of a busy intersection because you stand the risk of getting injured or killed. Likewise, don’t place your Spirit in harms way by entertaining thoughts or activities that are designed to trap you or make you stumble and fall.
Paul’s six keys: Rejoice evermore, reveal all to Christ, reverence God, release of Spiritual gifts, receive the word of God and resist temptation are ways we can strengthen our relationship with Christ.
My name is Minister Rodney Wilson and in this New Year, my prayer for you is that you be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding!