One of the reasons I love Paul’s letters is the fact that right in the middle of telling us how bad it is and how much worse it could be, he suddenly stops, (and I believe) he just shouts it out. REJOICE! If our laboring for the Lord does not bring us joy, we need to realign our priorities. One of the ways we quench the Spirit is to refuse to be joyful in our walk with God. We should test everything we hear, Does your pastor’s sermons always line up with the Word of God? You should check every comment I make and see if it really fits with the Scriptures. The more we study God’s Word, the more we will see why Paul was always content regardless of his situation. God will give us His peace, and we are blameless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Fear not, God is faithful, He will do what He says He will do. If we remain faithful, we will reap our crowns (rewards) in heaven.
Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus? Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV
Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.
We must remain humble where God has put us. We need to learn “to bloom where we are planted”. In other words, we should work diligently where we are until God moves us. Be obedient to those He has ordained to be over us. Since we are all parts of one body, we must work together in unity and unison to accomplish the work God has for us. If it is truly God’s work, it is not just “busy” work. If we do our part, God will certainly do His part. Work well and willingly with others. Encourage and help others with patience and love. We must always seek to do good to others and let God take care of the rest. Even though, we may never see what becomes of the other person, the one thing that we can be sure of is this: God will not be mocked, each of us will reap what we sow.
Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were ruled by our own fleshly desires. Flesh does not want to love others or help them in any way. Flesh is a “selfie”, it is all about me, me, me. After we accepted Jesus, God’s Spirit came to abide in us. Now, we are walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. God’s Spirit teaches us to love one another. As we mature in our walk with God, we should be learning to love more and more. As we love others more, we learn to first look at our faults and the areas we need to improve. If we do this in light of the Scriptures, we find that we have less time to meddle and gossip. This leads to a more peaceful life. We need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has called us to do, so that outsiders see the love we display and they will be drawn to Jesus.
1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder.— 1 Thess. 4:1 CEV
When it comes to living a Holy Life, I am learning to never say “I have learned”. I find it much more truthful to say “I am learning”. It seems that every time I think I have my mind wrapped around a Biblical concept, God opens each verse a little wider and I see there is more to it than I thought. I am not sure that I will ever graduate from Spiritual kindergarten. I believe that is why Paul carries the theme of learning, teaching, and encouraging throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians. We must continue to study and to mentor others until Jesus calls us home. To me, that is part of the beauty of Scriptures. They just never grow old or boring, Every day, God has something fresh, new, awesome, and wonderful for us to learn and to teach others
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. — Col. 2:6-7 NLT
How many times a day do we thank God for His goodness and blessings? Were you filled with joy at the dawn of a new day? Did you say, “good morning, Lord!” or “good Lord, it’s morning!”? Did you thank Him for keeping you safe through the night? Did you thank Him that you have eyes that can see the light of dawn? Did you thank Him that you have ears to hear the birds singing? Did you thank Him that you live in a country such as ours? Did you thank Him for the clothes you wear and also the clothes that you will probably never wear again? You don’t think that it is necessary to thank God everyday? Did you know that a lot of God’s anger at the children of Israel was because of their ingratitude for all that He had done for them? And He has done so much more for us. Do a word search and see how many times the words, “thank”. “thankful” and words that have similar meanings appears throughout the Bible. We should always be thankful because we could lose all these good things in a second.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was physically raised from the grave. Because of that, we can know that one day, He will raise all those who have trusted in Him. We are members of the body of Christ and have been instructed to keep the Temple holy. Nothing sinful will be allowed to pollute the body of Christ. God the Holy Spirit abides in us now and one day we will be completely one in Spirit with Jesus Christ. We have been purchased and washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. If we want to honor Jesus, we must keep ourselves from the very appearance of sin. Our love for Him should cause us to want to keep our bodies pure, without spot or blemish.