By Pamela Rose Williams
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In the above passage Paul was writing to the church in Thessalonica and these verses come near the end of his first letter to that church. We can learn something from this in that even after he has admonished them to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and to abstain from fleshly and earthly desires he gives them some direction on the proper attitude of the believer.
He was reminding the believers that the Lord “so cometh as a thief in the night.” (vs. 2) and that should require a sense of urgency in the heart of every believer to live as “the children of light” (vs. 5) that we should “be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (vs. 8). We should be prepared for that Spiritual battle that we face daily. This is not the only place in Scripture that Paul talks about the “whole armour of God” that we will need in this life. Remember he went into detail about it in Ephesians, take a look:
Ephesians 6:10-18 ( KJV ) 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We must be prepared that when we stand up for Jesus that Satan will try to take us down. He will do everything he can to convince us that following Jesus is not worth it. He will tempt us to do things that are not pleasing to the Lord such as “… Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like (Galatians 5:19-21). These are the works of the flesh also known as the works of darkness. Since we are children of the light we should abstain from the things of darkness. Paul admonishs that we should walk in the light which is also known as walking in the Spirit. He goes on in that chapter in Galatians to share the fruit of the Spirit; those things that are seen when we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. That fruit includes: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.(Galatians 5:22-23)
This brings us back to our verse of the day and Paul’s closing to this letter. He has reminded the church of what they are not (children of darkness) and he has exhorted them on the attitude in which they should receive such admonishment. Here is what he wrote just before today’s passage:
1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 ( KJV ) 12And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
So many times in today’s churches people just don’t want to take sound Biblical advice from the Pastors and Elders. They want to “kick against the pricks” (Acts 26:14). They become proud in their own strength and want to reject good counsel and then before you know it they are in a life circumstance that could have been avoided had they listened and heeded the advice.
Paul encourages the church to follow the leadership and to “esteem them very highly in love for the work’s sake”. What is that work? It is the work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As believers we all share in the work. We need to understand that someone needs to be the leader and we need to submit to that leadership which God has ordained “for the work’s sake”. Not only that, when we see someone “kicking against the pricks” we need to “warn them” to do right. Confrontation is a necessary tool in the believer’s life. They which are spiritual are called to approach ( in the spirit of meekness) they which are overtaken by a fault … all the while remembering that the ultimate goal is restoration (Galatians 6).
Our attitude as we walk in the Spirit should always be rejoiceful, prayerful and thankful. When you become weary in well-doing you should examine whether or not you are in the center of God’s will. Because as Paul wrote God wants you to rejoice, pray and give thanks and that “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
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Things to Think About and Do
1. Where in the Bible to you find a verse that talks about being weary in well doing? In the context what do you understand that passage to mean?
2. Are you being careful to “esteem… very highly in love” your Pastor? Consider how you can show your appreciation for the work he does for the church.
3. Where else in the Bible does Paul speak of esteem?
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