1 Thessalonians 5:12–22 (NKJV)
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.I Thessalonians 5:12-22
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
This short passage is chock full of instructions and exhortations from Paul to his disciples to help them in living for Christ. This continuing theme of Paul’s is powerful instruction for the fledgling church in Thessalonica. The points of this short but dense section of Scripture are outlined as such:
- Recognize Leadership
- Live in peace with one another
- Warn troublemakers
- Comfort those who are weak
- Strengthen the weak
- Be patient with everyone
- Do not execute revenge
- Pursue the best for everyone, including you
- Rejoice in everything
- Pray always and often
- Give thanks in every situation
- Allow the Holy Spirit to operate without restrictions
- Do not reject or respond with displeasure to prophetic speech
- Test everything and hold to the good things
- Abstain from evil in every form
This extensive list of practices and traits of a Christian serve as important teaching for the Thessalonians, but also to us who live in the world of today. Being peaceable, living within the rules, helping one another while deferring to one another, rejoicing, giving thanks, and praying are all great lifestyle choices for anyone, but especially the Christian. Allowing God’s ministry place in your life, receiving ministry from the Holy Spirit, and operating in discernment are all ways to follow Christ more fully as the Lord speaks and leads. This passage can be summed up in the concepts of selflessness, care for others, and submission to God’s Holy Spirit as one lives in holiness. Take the advice of the great pastor of the New Testament, Paul the Apostle, and see if your life will not be more fulfilling and fruitful. Without God’s will being done in one’s life, that life is aimless and self-centered. When an individual accepts Christ as Savior and Lord, and then lives according to His Word and teachings, life is elevated, God is glorified, and the world is a better place. Listen to Paul, he knows what he is talking about!