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Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Few Survival Tips (From the only perfect Guidebook)



1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
  
I was reading this passage in my morning devotions the other day, and was overwhelmed once again with the sheer richness of it. It's like a mini survival manual, tucked into the end of this short book of the Bible. I could write a separate blog post for each of these commands. For sake of brevity, I'll just break each of them down a little bit in one post. ;) This is such a practical section of Scripture that easy to work on applying on an hourly and daily basis. Notice I said "work on" applying. None of these things are innate; it takes effort to walk in God's ways. However, these are super straightforward and simple to understand. Let's look a little closer at the instructions...

1. Rejoice evermore.
Ok, wow. Right off the bat, we are getting into convicting mode. Does rejoicing mix well with complaining, gossip, bickering, or griping? No. No, it does not. So when I do ANY of those things, I am not rejoicing in The Lord. Which means I am sinning. Wow.


2. Pray without ceasing.
The issue of prayer has really been heavy on my heart for the past couple of months. I know my prayer life is one of the things I tend to let slip the most, and yet it is so utterly vital to my walk with God! Satan knows this, and he is quick to jump on opportunities to lure me into thoughts like, "Oh, I'll pray later when I have more time", or "I prayed some earlier, I don't need to spend more time in prayer now, do I?" Hello?! What better way to spend time than in the presence of my Saviour? And what other things do I hold as being more important? How dare I spend more time talking with my earthly friends or even my family, than I do talking with Almighty God who saved my soul?! I recently asked a dear friend to keep me accountable about my prayer time, because I want to strive more than ever to make prayer a daily and constant habit. Not just praying now and then throughout the day, but dedicating time to talking with God. Praying through the day is great though, don't get me wrong! It is so important to incorporate talking to and praising God into our routine tasks. <3


3. In every thing give thanks.
When my paycheck comes in early? Yeah, I give Him thanks. When I get to do something fun or special with a friend? Yep. When I am having a really, really good day? Sure. But what about when nothing is going right? When my body is hurting? When my friends are far away and I can't talk with or be with them like I want to? When I lose something or someone I loved? Do I still thank God? Do I still sing a song of praise to Him when my heart is breaking? In EVERY THING give thanks. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. And I need no more reason than that.


4. Quench not the Spirit.
When I see things from God's Word that contradict what I'm actually doing in my life, so often I have pushed it away with a feeble excuse. So often I am guilty of quenching the Spirit's whisperings of truth in my heart. The very One who was given to guide me, I turn away from. God forgive me.


5. Despise not prophesyings.
When I sit under the preaching of the Scripture, I should have an attitude of humility, searching my own heart. Not ever a spirit of criticism or annoyance at having to listen. So often, even as I walk in the doors of church, Satan is actively attacking. Whether it's me getting my hackles up about some silly offense, or a younger one straining my patience...it's a fight every time to have my heart prepared to be still and listen. And I don't always win that fight, but I'm going to keep trying.


6. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
One of the most popular Bible verses that the lost, (and many saved actually, too) like to twist is "Judge not, that ye be not judged." They usually just conveniently ignore the rest of the chapter, and even the second half of the verse, and chop it down to a simple and blanket statement: "Judge not." However, we as children of God SHOULD be judging certain things! Not looking down on others and beating them over the head for their sin; of course not! But we DO need to judge things that we come in contact with, be it as "small" as a movie or book, or as large as a new doctrine or idea being introduced. We have to look on these things with discernment, and judge whether they are right or wrong, using God's Word as the standard. We don't judge things or people out of our own hearts, because our hearts are corrupt, and trusting the heart is foolish. (Jer. 17:9, Prov. 28:26) But we do hold things up to the standard of the Bible, and if they pass the test, we should hold them fast. If not, we should run far away from them.


7. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
What if someone were to look through your life today? As in, everything from your Instagram and Facebook accounts, to the clothing you wear, to the books you read, to the movies you watch, to the friends you hang out with, to where you spend your weekends...everything. Would there be any evidence that you are a Christian? Or would there be so much appearance of evil that they would have a really hard time figuring it out? Man. That is really thought provoking.


8. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
This last section is so important, because we cannot even do one of the above mentioned things without the help of God. He is the One who sanctifies us, and gives us peace. He preserves us when we are following Him wholeheartedly. He is faithful to grow and lead us in His way, for He has called us by name. How precious to be guided and strengthened by God's hand! How earnestly we ought to strive to follow His commandments, for they are not grievous!
Mykaela

4 comments:

  1. Definitely some convicting verses! The rejoicing is something I've been thinking about lately. A friend of mine reminds me that when Satan steals our joy, he has also stolen our strength, because the joy of the Lord is our strength! Also, in everything give thanks...that's so important! I always notice such a huge difference in my attitude/perspective when I take a moment to thank God for His blessings. And even if it's something I'm discouraged about, it helps so much to thank God for those things, knowing that He has a purpose for them and is working them out for my good ;)

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    1. That is so very true, Elizabeth!! You are such an example to me of having a joyful spirit. :)

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  2. As Elizabeth said, these are some very convicting verses! There is so much in that short passage of Scripture that the Lord has been trying to tell me I need to work on. Honestly I think I could study 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 the rest of my life, faithfully attempting to do all it says by my own power, and not get anywhere. Praise the Lord will be there to sanctify and preserve me! Mykaela, this was a great choice for a post! :)

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    1. Exactly...there are so many tidbits of practical direction and truth it's hard to know where to start! ;)

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