I was at an end-of-year party recently with fellow teammates. After mingling and catching up, the company owner showed a video interview of seven triathletes who shared their experiences racing. The video was encouraging, amusing, and inspiring. One athlete shared her mantra, “helmet for hat,” as she finished up the bike portion to transition to running because of a time she forgot to take her bike helmet off for the run. Another teammate shared how he had a plan to float in an open water segment, and then told how one of the kayakers stopped him because he was floating in the wrong direction, off course. I value the years of experience my teammates offer–their advice gives me food for thought, highlights areas to exercise caution, and gives me encouragement to not only have hope to start but to finish well.
As I slow to read through 1 and 2 Thessalonians, these words hold the same sentiments–food for thought, areas to exercise caution, and hope to finish well. In a separate study, I’m reading a lot about abiding (remaining) in Christ, the importance of God’s Word, and an emphasis on the importance of my fellowship with the Lord. Because of that, I view the Scriptures differently as I read through them. In the same way I would implore my children to follow Jesus, I welcome and receive the same sincerity from Paul. He writes of identity, work ethic, hope, and perseverance.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, NIV, emphasis mine
11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, NIV, emphasis mine
15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.2 Thessalonians 2:15, NIV, emphasis mine
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.2 Thessalonians 3:6-9, NIV, emphasis mine
Lord, thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for your Word that I can know you and follow you. Thank you for the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ.