Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living Out Scripture

"12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil. be patient with them all.
 23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

-1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 (ESV)

I love this passage. Every time I read it I am always convicted of something new. But the thing about this scripture is it nails a variety of issues and commands...

1. Respect those among you AND over you AND who admonish you in the Lord. AND to esteem them highly in love because of their work. This verse makes me laugh in a doubting way but I find it so humbling.

2. Be at peace among yourselves. Do not stir up trouble but show God's love for one another.

3. Warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. (according to The Message).

4. Rejoice ALWAYS. Not when you feel like it. Not when something exciting just happened. Try rejoicing always, even when times are hard. Even when all you want to do is complain.

5. Pray without ceasing. I discovered what this meant a few years ago. Before all I could think of was Buddist or various other religions that spend the majority of their day on their knees in prayer. But it means AS you go through your day, thank God, praise God, lift up requests, etc.

6. Give thanks in ALL circumstances. Heh....ALL. It's the will of God.

7.  Do not quench the Spirit. Don't suppress the Spirit. And do not stifle those who are lead by the Spirit. Does that also mean we should be fluid instead of flexible and allowing the Holy Spirit to move rather than trying to have all control ourselves? I think yes.

8. Give ear to what others have said, but do not be gullible but test it out and throw out only what is evil. And trust what is good.

9. Be patient and do what is holy. Keep yourself free from every form of evil.

10. May God make you holy and whole. May your spirit, soul, and body be blameless when the Lord God returns. God is FAITHFUL, he WILL accomplish what he said he would.

Like I said, I love this passage. Imagine what the church (us, the body of Christ) would look like if we faithfully lived this out? For James 1:22 says, "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." I pray that God will work this attitude in my life, that I can better be a witness for Him. Thank you Lord.

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