November Reading from The Message
We are God’s destination. He is active and moving – he comes. The Christian life is lived between his arrivals. In light of that, how should we live? Paul provides essential and practical guidance in the last chapter of 1 Thessalonians…
And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
13-15 Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
19-22 Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.
23-24 May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!
25-27 Friends, keep up your prayers for us. Greet all the followers of Jesus there with a holy embrace. And make sure this letter gets read to all the brothers and sisters. Don’t leave anyone out.
28 The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!
We Are God’s Destination
God isn’t an immovable object at the center of the universe. He’s not a fixed point on an astronomer’s map. He’s active and moving—he comes. And his movement has direction—he comes to us. He doesn’t wander around window-shopping from galaxy to galaxy, juggling the moons of Jupiter and casually admiring the rings of Saturn. We are his destination.
And he didn’t simply come once and then return to spend the rest of eternity, like an old tourist, telling stories of his trip and boring the angels with slides of his visit to earth. He came, and he will come again. The Christian life, consequently, is lived between those two comings.
In light of that, how should we live?
This chapter in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians has been important to Christians for two thousand years, showing us how to live wholeheartedly between the great fact of Christ’s coming and the sure expectation of his coming again. The words “Be alive!” sum up Paul’s counsel.
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