1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
What does it mean to be a follower of God, a disciple of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be part of a church fellowship, worshiping and serving with other like-minded believers? I think Paul gives us a pretty good job description. ( I’m using the NLT today)
- Warn those who are lazy. The thing is, none of us should be idle. James tells us our faith
without works is dead faith. Those who are satisfied to sit on the sidelines need to be warned of that.
- Encourage the timid. Baby steps. A new believer, or a believer who hesitates to serve for any reason, needs someone to come along side and support them until they are ready to fly. It’s another description of mentoring.
- Take tender care of those who are weak. And who isn’t weak at one time or another? Yet we so often end up condemning the weak instead of nurturing them and giving them the spiritual PT they need be be strong.
- Be patient with everyone. Not just the people you like. We are all works in progress.
- See that no one repays evil for evil. Paul is not just saying YOU shouldn’t do that. He is telling you to be sure I’m not doing that, either. Yes, we are accountable for each other.
- Do good to each other and to all people. Look around. Jesus died for that person, and that person, and that one. Reach out to them for Jesus’ sake.
- Always be joyful. That might be a tough one because we all go through times of deep sorrow. Does Paul mean we are to put on a sappy smile? If you are a believer, I think you understand the difference between happiness, and the gift of joy from the Holy Spirit. It’s not just a feeling. It’s what comes from knowing our sins are forgiven, from a right standing with God, and a relationship with our precious Jesus. It’s not dependent on circumstances, but rather on the person of Jesus Christ.
- Never stop praying. That constant conversation with our Lord is vital to our relationship with Him, and our service for Him.
- Be thankful in everything, for this is God’s will. Yeah, thankful. Everything. Paul counted it a privilege to suffer for the Name, thankful for the chance to represent God even to the people who persecuted him. You have an opportunity to be a light to people living in darkness, through whatever you are dealing with today. Are you thankful for the privilege?
- Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. You stifle the Holy Spirit when you are holding on to a sin rather than repenting of it.
- Do not scoff at prophecies but test everything you hear according to God’s written Word. There are a lot of things being tossed around today by people claiming to speak for God. Can you tell the difference between who is true to God’s Word, and who is speaking Satan’s lies? Open your Bible!
- Hold on to what is good. Hold on, dear one. Our world is calling bad good and good bad. You need to know the difference, then hold on to what is good with all your might.
- Stay away from every kind of evil. That might mean turning off your TV, walking away from a group of friends, coming out from among the ungodly and being separate. We are told to be holy as God is holy. We can’t be holy if we continue to sin without repentance.
So how did you stack up as a child of God according to Paul’s job description? I know there are some things I need to change if I want the privilege of doing that job well. I believe if our churches were filled with people who fit that description we would see an epic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and many lost people would find their Savior.
And isn’t that what we want to see as followers of God, disciples of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, and members of His Church?