I Thessalonians 5:14-20 (CSB) And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
It is easy to get fixated on rules and regulations for living. There are many doctrines that will project what not to do to love and serve God. Although good intentioned, life experience is a good teacher as what not to do. What do I do? The perception of God’s Law changed when Jesus died to pay the price of sin and God’s Grace began to flow from Heaven to His People through His Son. Before that there was only mercy to be given fully at the discretion of God. (Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15) After Jesus came and died on the Cross, He released His Spirit to us. The Spirit immediately changed the atmosphere beginning with the temple veil that once separated God and man being torn apart from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:51) When Jesus rose again on the third day, He held the keys to death and the grave in His Nail-Scarred Hand. Freedom had come. The Law of God is no longer to our detriment but now it has become an opportunity for destiny.
The principles set forth in the Word of God are attached to the blessing of God. One must understand that the economy of heaven begins in our soul. As our soul prospers, our life will surely follow. (3 John 1:2) Psalm 103:2 tells us, “My soul, bless the Lord, and do not forget His Benefits…” Sometimes… maybe most of the time… okay… all of the time… I must remind myself of the benefits and blessings of God in my life and coming to me. Religion tends to overcomplicate the process of God for us by listing rules, regulations, and other stipulations that grace does not require. When Jesus died on the Cross, His Primary Purpose was to give us the grace needed to overcome every weakness. To become a Body of One, and to accompany each other through life into eternity. The mission of ministry is soulful. To cross over lines of differences and engage one another in true love. Love like Jesus.
Micah 6:8 (CSB) Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.
I love this simple scripture. It takes our overcomplicated thoughts removing the weight and burden to the basic principle of life. What is good? What does the Lord require of you? To act justly. To love faithfulness. To walk humbly with your God. Friend, God wants you. He loves you. To act justly is to live in your true identity as a Child of God. Sin has no place in our life. True repentance is the daily act of picking out the sin by thoroughly and honestly examining our heart in comparison to His Word. To be diligent in our following of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. He is the Lord. In our striving to be faithful, it is important not to misunderstand our place. Though striving for it, the faithfulness to love is His Faithfulness. Our love is fickle. It grows hot and cold according to seasons, condition, and situations. He is faithful and true in all seasons, conditions and situations. Finally, my favorite of them all, to walk humbly with your God. He is my God. I possess His Love and the awesome privilege of walking with Him each and every day. Humility keeps my place with Him. To know and understand that it is the sufficiency of His Grace that gives me such an honor.
In I Thessalonians 5, these words are tucked in after an exhortation to love one another. It is not always easy to rejoice. Yet, the Holy Spirit inspires us to rejoice always. When we begin to try to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, it is important not to lose sight of the joy of our salvation. To rejoice always is to live a life of praise. To praise the Lord on good days, so-so days and downright horrible days. It is an aroma arising from our heart to penetrate our mind that decides to praise God in every season not only the harvest. It changes our perspective even when our current position does not change by reminding us that God is right in front of us, hemming us in from behind and right beside us as we walk humbly with Him. There is no weapon formed against us that will prosper. Greater is He who lives in me than he that is in the world. His Grace is enough. The burden of life is one thing. But following the blessing of the Lord comes with no sorrow added to it. His Commands are not burdensome to you because each one holds a promise too precious not to have. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. Do you pray? How often? When? Is God your bestie? I am working on this area of my life. I tend to pray, but not about everything. Not constantly. I have a scale on which I weigh the priority of my prayer. Sadly, there are things that I don’t always deem worthy of talking over with God. But that is subject to change… I am learning that God is who I should talk to about EVERY SINGLE THING in my life… first. We must pray. Jesus called His House a House of Prayer. I want Jesus in my house. I have teenagers for crying out loud – I need Him more than ever. Prayer is a requirement to hear God’s Voice. My husband has a bad habit of asking a question and not waiting for the answer. He will ask, “How was your day?” then walk out of the room. He becomes distracted. Our prayer life can be the same way. We ask the Lord a question, but do not wait for Him to respond. The need for immediate gratification says, “Well if God’s not going to do it – I guess I will.” God still speaks to us today. We must take the time to listen. We must respond to His Voice just as we would a loved one. Have you talked to your bestie today? The Lover of your soul who thought you were worth dying for is waiting to hear your voice again.
Give thanks in everything.
I must maintain an attitude of gratitude. The enemy wants to sow seeds of discontentment in our life to make us somehow think that God doesn’t love us, care about us, or see us. Nothing could be further from the truth. To overcome the lie one must know the Truth. Thankfulness reminds our heart, soul and mind of all that God has done for us and changes our focus from what if to what is. Faith is a lifetime journey that is taken one step at a time. To do so with a thankful heart continually feeds the hope that anchors our heart and mind to Christ. The primary blessing that changes everything is the gift of His Life for us. No matter what today holds or tomorrow brings – His Grace will always be enough for me. He is for me. He will be with me. Faithful to the end regardless of my wavering heart.
For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Who doesn’t want God’s Will for their life in Christ Jesus? Everyone strives to discover purpose for their existence. To find our life in Christ is to lose it. To abandon our heart and mind to His Unfathomable Love and Amazing Grace is not about me. What I do? What I achieve? What I fail miserably at? It is my ability to walk through life humbly with my God. Pressure is off today, friend. God doesn’t expect us to do anything but to follow Jesus straight into His Presence. He who began that good work in you will finish it just as He promises. You just have to stick with Him. These three simple principles: Rejoice always; pray constantly; and to be thankful in all circumstances will help you stay the course. Forget all the rules and regulations – to live in love with Jesus changes our heart and mind including our mind, will and emotions to take hold of the better things in life given as part of our freedom in Christ. It turns us from lesser things and keeps us from distractions. It allows the Holy Spirit to flourish within us while keeping Jesus on His Lordship Throne in our heart.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (CSB) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will do it.