#MeditationMonday – Out of the abundance of a man’s heart, his mouth speaks.
Hey, Hey, Hey Dearly Beloved,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Welcome to 2018. I pray the mercies of God be over you throughout this new year. I pray you gain a deeper understanding of the will of God for this new season. As you grow in knowledge and understanding, may you receive boldness to share your convictions with those around you in Jesus name, Amen.
I encourage you to seek the Lord for personal scriptures, songs and instructions for this year. Make sure to seek His heart and will for you this year. It is important to know God for yourself and find out by yourself what He has in store for you so you’re not led astray by false prophecies and doctrines. Also be sure to pray for God to reveal any surprises ahead so that you can be well prepared for them.
This month, we shall spend our Mondays meditating on 12 things God wants us to do in 2018 taken from I Thessalonians 5: 12 – 22.
Now brothers and sisters, we ask you to recognize the value of those who work hard among you—those who, as followers of the Lord, care for you and tell you how to live. Show them the highest respect and love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other. We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who will not work. Encourage those who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people.
Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. Don’t stop the work of the Holy Spirit. Don’t treat prophecy like something that is not important. But test everything. Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil.
Now, how do I know this is what God wants you to do, not just this year but in every season? Because the passage itself says so; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you [18(b)]. From this, we take 12 major instructions, which are similar to the guide to living a holy life given to us in Romans 12:9-21. They are:
- 1 Thessalonians 5:12 – To Respect our leaders
- 1 Thessalonians 5:13 – To Live in peace with each other
- 1 Thessalonians 5:13 – To Admonish the idle
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – To Encourage the fainthearted
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – To Help the weak, be patient with them
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 – To Repay evil with good
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – To Rejoice
- I Thessalonians 5:17 – To Pray
- I Thessalonians 5:18 – To Give Thanks
- I Thessalonians 5:19 – To Quench Not (or grieve not) the Holy Spirit
- I Thessalonians 5:20-21 – To Despise not prophecy/prophesying, test everything
- I Thessalonians 5:21-22 – To Hold fast to good, abstain from evil
Quickly, note how the first 6 instructions relate to our dealings with others while the last 6 instructions relate more to our relationship with God. When you think about it, the 10 Commandments bears a similar pattern but that’s banter for another time on the blog so keep an eye out for that!
Although we do not receive salvation by doing these acts, they are examples of good works we cultivate to mature in Christ. Being 12 in number, we can allocate one to each month of the year. Situations will surely arise which test us in these areas so it’s important to keep these instructions at the forefront of your mind as you navigate this new season. Alright, Let’s jump in!
1. Have respect for our leaders in the Lord.
We are instructed to have respect for those who are over us in the Lord i.e. our leaders who labour on our behalf. We are to respect and show them love because of their work (pastoring and teaching). This means we must recognize the importance of their office and treat them accordingly [Matthew Henry’s Commentary (MHC)], which further echoes Hebrews 13:17 & 1 Timothy 5:17, which urge us to honour the leaders and elders amongst us so they can carry out their work with joy and not grumbling.
2. Live in peace with each other.
Further, we have to be at peace amongst ourselves. This instruction applies to maintaining peace between the leaders and their flock and ensuring the absence of rivalry amongst the flock. We must treat everyone equally regardless of gender or social status and at the same time, we must avoid envy or jealousy regarding a “favourite minister” in order not to create competition amongst our leaders. It is to our advantage when we create a peaceful environment for our leaders to work because it allows us reap the fruits of their labour of love over our souls. See also (1 Corinthians 1:12).
3. Admonish the idle.
Warnings against idleness are contained all over scripture! It is important to always keep our hands and minds busy. As for our hands, Proverbs 19:15 says an idle soul shall go hungry while regarding our minds Mathew 12:43-45 speaks of a demon who returns back to the house it left because it found it “still empty” and “swept clean”.
These are references to idleness!!! It is important for our hands to find something doing, and to use whatever we do to glorify God, even more still, it is important that our hearts/minds are never “empty” but are always thinking on that which is lovely and meditating on the good word of God. See also (Philippians 4:8).
4. Encourage the fainthearted.
On this note, Matthew Henry’s Commentary (MHC) reads: a kind word may do much good. Life is full of unexpected situations and circumstances. People become fainthearted (i.e. fearful and sorrowful in spirit) when they are faced with challenges they did not prepare for or when they encounter disappointment in one way or another. When anxiety from the circumstances of life weighs us down, only a good word can restore hope and make us glad again! (Proverbs 12:25).
Therefore, it is important for Christians to serve as pillars of encouragement for one another by speaking words of upliftment and by washing each other with the word and prayer. Proverbs 16:24 says gracious words are like a honeycomb, bringing sweetness to the soul and health to the body. When we are faced with the fainthearted, let us ensure that our words are seasoned with grace, so that we may build them up, not tear them down even further! See also (Proverbs 12:18, Ephesians 4:29).
We’ll examine the remaining items in today’s passage over the next two #MeditationMonday blog posts. In the meantime, spend some time meditating on these instructions and developing practical ways to implement them in your daily life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for revealing your will to me for the new year. Please empower me to live up to this calling as it makes me more conformed to the image of Christ. As I obey your instructions, may I also receive grace to accept correction and rebuke from others on these matters. In Jesus name I ask these things, Amen!