5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.I Thessalonians 5:5-8 ESV
As different as night and day. That is the call to the church.
- Asleep vs. Awake
- Drunk vs. Sober
- Dark vs. Light
- Purposeless vs. Hope
We should stand out from those around us. My faith should make my logic different from the world’s short-sightedness. My hope of salvation looks beyond and guards my mind just as a true helmet would. My God-given faith and love protect my heart and will from the world’s distortions and manipulations.
It is quite likely in the months and years ahead that those taking a firm stand for the gospel and truth will suffer persecution. Genuine persecution — not just the verbal gut punch some people bring on themselves through unloving ranting on social media.
Because our faith stands in such opposition to the culture around us, we must encourage each other to stand strong. Encourage, encourage, encourage. I find it easy to analyze or even criticize those around me within the church, but the message here is quite clear. Everyone that is joined with us in the body of Christ needs our encouragement and support.
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.I Thessalonians 5:12-13a ESV
Encourage the leaders and volunteers in the church. Notes of thanks, a smile, a verbal affirmation. So many ways to show that we are in this together, that they don’t labor alone. As someone deeply entrenched in the kids’ ministry at our church, I can say that nothing tells me someone is on my side like offering to get involved, even shouldering a small piece of the burden of ministry.
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.I Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV
Encourage those who struggle. Don’t condemn them or criticize their obvious weakness. Speak words of life. Seek to do good. Intentionally choose to bring peace to a situation and growth and maturity to the body of Christ as a whole.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV
Remember, you need encouragement, too. I am still far from perfect, and God in His faithfulness is continuing to refine me. I am thankful that there are others praying for my continued growth and wisdom.
Brothers, pray for us.I Thessalonians 5:25 ESV
When we feel we have nothing to offer or no way to encourage someone, prayer fills that void best.
Lord God, the darkness seems so deep at times, but help me to never add to it. The contrasting light seems too great to stand in, but hold my feet firm. Help my words to encourage myself, my family, and the body of Christ without wavering. Keep refining. Your faithfulness is sure. In Jesus name, amen.