Monday, September 27, 2010

Always be joyful!

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24)

As I was looking deeper into this reading, I saw that Paul really is not merely talking about 'tasks' that the Christian must 'do.' He is issuing a call for a certain type of life. To live the Christian life in all fullness, is not to fill our lives with certain things, but to live out our full lives in devotion to Christ. Just look at the words Paul uses: always; without ceasing; in all circumstances; test everything; hold fast (which is in the present active tense); abstain from every evil, entirely, spirit and soul and body.
This is about the complete embodiment of our life in the devotion of Christ. In that sense it is far beyond moralizing, but about a radical reorientation of life.
I really love this passage. Here Paul seems that he wants to cut to the chase: Here is what we need to do! Here is how we need to live! This summation of his letter is a loving and exuberant voice of encouragement to the congregation at Thessalonica and also to us, with the assurance of God's presence and grace. This is a passage that should be read aloud with real joy in one's voice. We must rejoice in the fantastic life we can have if we make the choice to truly follow Jesus.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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