“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
I Thessalonians 5:14-22 NKJV
I remember my days back in university. I was one not given to study. I had the tendency to wait until the last minute to prepare for exams and papers, then I would stay up trying to cram all the knowledge I should have gotten earlier, into my beer soaked brain. The results were usually not very good. As time went by, I learned how to be at the ready, to study a little every night, and be prepared.
After becoming a christian, I frequently found myself falling back on many of the same bad habits, as I rushed through my spiritual walk, trying to cram in little bits of God’s word. I had just enough to get me through a moment, but not enough of the wisdom of God to carry me into a storm.
Inevitably, God provided opportunties for me to begin sharing with others, as I taught the occasional Sunday school class. I realized that I could not simply cram a bit and hope to teach. I was ministering from what was coming to me. As a result, I was starving myself, while trying to feed others. I began to take the time to feed myself.
As I learned the word of God, I began to discover the values that should be in every christian. The word was entering into my heart and confronting the areas where I was weak. I am convinced that the Lord prepared me to be ready for anything. I had no idea of the storms that were coming.
We are in a storm now. The values of Jesus are essential in the body of Christ, as we must lean on each other to get through all that is to come. The passage I read today was a great reminder of some of the things that must be confronted to make the Body more effective in spreading the Gospel.
We must warn the unruly, the ones who desire upheaval as it does not lend to the need for unity. Comfort the fainthearted, and supporting the weak is essential. We are in a time when it is all hands on deck, and the work requires everyone. All must be done with patience.
It is time for all to look after the needs of all, and there is no room for petty squabbles or vengeances. All of those things serve no purpose but to divide, and leave opening for the devil.
The times are frightening, we must not give into fear, and be distracted, but instead, rejoice. We who are believers, whose sins have been forgiven, have the comfort of knowing where we are going. In that reality we can go boldly and share the Gospel while there is time.
The world needs the message now. They think of Jesus as this warm, fuzzy, good teacher who doesn’t care about your sin. “Love” who you want, worship who you want. Whatever. He does care. He stated in John 14:6 “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, except through me.” He cared so much that He died a grievous death on the cross for those sins.
He is coming again, this time with a rod of iron. He’s taking no prisoners.
It is time to pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray about the big things and the little things. Pray for each other. In the midst of all the struggles and all the pain give thanks. I give thanks for all the struggles I have had, because they have revealed to me the nature of God, and the infinite depth of His grace, and boundless mercy.
Believers, know that He is good. He is God in all situations, sovereign over all. In the coming times, we will hear of frightening news as the Lord prepares the earth. Do not be afraid, but rejoice. Your redemption draweth nigh!