People love lists. We write task lists. Gift lists. Grocery lists. Project lists. And wish lists.
Lists are an easy way to help us remember things that are important. To prod us. To incentivize us. And to keep track of what is really important in life.
This morning as I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5 and was struck by the list of exhortations penned by Paul. It is an inspired collection of succinct admonitions to live by. Spiritual advice in a few words that can make a real difference in our lives. Read the text. And consider the concise, perspective-giving, soul-feeding insights from God’s Word.
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
- Respect your spiritual leaders. Accept them. Appreciate them. Honor them. Love them. Obey them. Follow them.
- Promote peace. Love peace. Live in peace. Be a peacemaker. Don’t be a trouble maker. Don’t seek revenge.
- Help those who need help. The unruly. The fainthearted. The weak. Remember there are times we all struggle and need people to lift us up.
- Work on your own personal, inner spiritual growth. Be patient. Watch your motives. Be joyful. Persist in prayer. Develop the attitude of gratitude.
- Live a godly life. Be led by the Spirit. Praise God. Follow the word. Examine yourself. And hate and reject wickedness and every form of evil.
The final verses of the chapter, 23-28, can be summarized in two words– Christian fellowship. Our relationship in the Lord issues itself in a special relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Don’t neglect your church family. Don’t try to live in isolation from others. Don’t ignore your collective duties and responsibilities to those like of precious faith.
Don’t dismiss the brevity of this text or this post. Contained in this list are profound thoughts that are life changing These exhortations that encompass a lifetime of work. Personal growth. And spiritual development.
Make this list your own. Adapt it. Modify it. Add to it. And “may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman