Since some of my favorite verses are in 1st Thessalonians, I was so pleased to be doing this book this week. It’s been a bit of a blurry week, getting over a cold and then suffering through a few days of migraines, so I have to be honest and say that I didn’t quite read it every day–almost, but not quite.
The thing that amazes me about the Thessalonicas was their faith. (1:8….your faith in God has become known everywhere, 3:8…since you are standing firm in the Lord.) These were not people who had fancy churches with stained glass windows, programs for their children, leather-bound Bibles and wonderful devotional books, Christian bookstores and online resources to help them in their walk with the Lord. They did not have all the resources that we have today, and yet they were still a people of faith. And that was enough for them. It made me wonder if I was stuck somewhere alone with just my family and my God, would my faith be enough to sustain me? These people’s would have been. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the “wrappings” of our faith, of Christianity, and forget that what it comes down to is just what we do for our God and how we live our lives for Him. I can read hundreds of Christian books, excellent reading, and nothing wrong with it, but God’s word is all I need, and if I’m not in it, it doesn’t matter what else I read. I can put my kids in Sunday School and AWANA, again, excellent programs, but it’s our hearts that matter. The Thessalonicas didn’t have all the conveniences that we have today, but they still had faith, and it was known everywhere. That’s how I want to be, that when people hear my name, they know that I am a woman of faith. Is it that way now? I don’t know, but my prayer is to live my life the way that God wants me to, so that there is never a doubt that I am a woman of faith.
I also love verse 3, in chapter 1. “….your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Need I say more? The things they did were because of their faith, their work was done out of love, and they endured because they knew that someday they would be with the Lord. Faith, love and hope.
This is getting longer than I had planned, but is it possible to review 1st Thessalonians without mentioning 4:13-18? I love these verses! What hope they give us as believers! It makes all the bad days and the frustrating moments worthwhile. To know that we will spend eternity with our Lord! Do you just tingle when you think about hearing that “shout, and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God”? I do! “And so shall we ever be with the Lord”!!
One last thing. 1st Thessalonians is full of little instructions on how to live our lives. And when I say little, I don’t mean small or insignificant, I just mean short and very much to the point. 4:11–lead a quiet life, mind your business and work with your hands. 5:12-22 –respect those who work hard,who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, live in peace with each other, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, don’t pay back wrong for wrong, always be kind to each other, be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in everything, don’t put out the Spirit’s fire, don’t treat prophecies with contempt, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid all kinds of evil. Wow, quite a list! And definitely some things there that I need to work on. The biggest one, I think, is to give thanks in everything. This is a tough one for me. It’s so easy to be thankful when everything is going well. The challenge is to continue to be thankful when things aren’t going so well.
The biggest thing that I’ve learned from 1st Thessalonians is how thankful I am to have a God who cares enough about us that He has given us this wonderful Bible which is full of instructions on how to live our lives. We need to do our part, and be in His word, but when we are, He’ll show us exactly what to do.
So my goal in the coming days is to live my life everyday so that everyone I meet knows that I am a woman of faith, to always be thankful, even in the hard times, to have everything I do be prompted by love, and to always be ready and watching for we have no idea when we may hear that shout, voice and trumpet!