Thursday, August 14, 2008

SOAP - 8/14/08 (1 Thess 5:12-22)


"We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every from of evil."




Though this section of Scripture is written in paragraph form the Greek text actually splits it into separate sentences that stand by themselves.

"Always exhibit a positive outlook on life.
Never stop praying.
No matter what happens give God thanks, for this is God's will for you as you were shown by Jesus."

What is God saying?

Pretty simple verses, but sometimes what we think is simple is really more complex. Paul says to "rejoice always." Why did I paraphrase this as "Always exhibit a positive outlook on life?" The Greek word for rejoice is chairo. The noun form of the word is chara which means joy. Rejoicing is the exhibition of joy. Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is a positive outlook on life. It is not a feeling but a way of being. Joy is experienced, through Christ, no matter what the cirucmstances are. Whereas when there is sadness there is not happiness, but with joy if their is trial and tribulation one can still maintain a positive outlook on life. This positive outlook comes from knowing Jesus. It is faith in knowing that no matter what happens to us here on earth we will suffer no longer in God's presence during the final part of our life.

"Always pray." Where does our stregnth come from? It comes from God. How can we have such strength if we do not spend time with him? We shouldn't even expect such strength during life's rough times when we don't have a relationship with him. God wants us to pray. Simply put, God wants to talk with us. He wants us to tell him what is going on, bring our needs to him, pray for others, etc.... even though he already knows such things.

Paul then says to give thanks in all circumstances. The truth of the matter is the Christian life is not an easy life to live. Just because a person becomes a Christian doesn't mean their life will all of a sudden become perfect and not experience any problems. The Christian life is a hard life, but we know that God is constantly working in and through our lives no matter what the circumstance or situation we are in. We can have faith in this fact.

Our purpose is to become like Jesus. It is for this reason that Paul says "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." God will's that we develop the right attitude about life. It comes through prayer, and because of this we can be thankful no matter what happens because if we are faithful God will be glorified.

What is God saying to me?

It is tempting to not have the right attitude about things. I have noticed that when I am not in the Word and not spending time with God that I easily subcum to wrong thinking. The more I spend time with God the more "joy" I experience. I gain a more positive outlook on life knowing that my God is sovereign and in control because he is my Master. I need to remember that even during the hard parts of my life I need to be thankful for one of the greatest and most meaningful things God has given me. He has given me eternal life. I need to keep this in mind.


This is a great reminder and an encouragment to continue to spend time with God. I don't want to ever get trapped into loathing life. I want to always keep the bigger picture in mind.


Father please help my discipline to grow. It is time for other things to be added to my time with you. Please direct me in discovering what they are. Help me to be faithful in doing these studies with you. Overall, help me to be like your Son Jesus. May my life be characterized by joy over what you have done. Thank you for listening to my prayer.

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