In this letter to the church in Thessalonia, Paul throws down a whole bunch of absolutes that we aren’t up to; without help. 

1 Thessalonians 5: 14-18 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

I just realized there’s something missing from the above scripture. That something is conditions. That something is criteria. That something is exclusions. Don’t believe me? Take a look again. We’re supposed to help “everyone” (verse 14); make sure “nobody” pays back wrong for wrong (verse 15); and do what is good for “each other” and “everyone” (verse 15 again).

So, you’re saying “Okay, so we do this for everyone but when do we do it? There has to be some sort of limitation, some criteria, right?” There sure are. We should warn, encourage, help and be patient “always” (verse 15 & 16); pray “continually” (verse 17) and give thanks in “all circumstances” (verse 18).

Now I know what you’re saying: “I can’t do that. I can’t be that all the time. It’s too high a bar.” And you’re right, it is too high. It’s too high to reach for us as mere mortals. It’s too high to expect us, as flawed as we are, to attain this level of selflessness and care and helpfulness, even of prayer and rejoicing. It’s just too much. We need help. The good news is we have it from the most likely of sources in the most unlikely of manners.

God’s will for you is that in your efforts, in your trials and in your rejoicing and even in your prayer, in all circumstances you give thanks. Give thanks? In all the things that I find myself lacking in and not hitting these marks? Give thanks when I’m not encouraging, not patient, not kind? Give thanks at those times? Paul says yes, in all circumstances.

The one thing we can know is that God’s will in Christ is that we always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone. Will we fall short of these goals? Almost absolutely. But in our shortcomings we should give thanks for the places and times that we need His help. They will be many and in giving thanks that His will is in these things for us we can also give thanks that it is with his strength and guidance that we can constantly strive toward the goodness he showed us in his only son. I think we can all be thankful for that.

Where do you need help? Where do you feel overmatched? How can you call on and give thanks for the will of God in your life today?



If you liked this and would like to share it, please use the icons below. 

Every week I send an email to my subscribers with links to the past week’s posts. Subscribing is free and you can do say by clicking here

If you would like to head back to the home page, just click here.