If you could only give your friends one piece of advice, what would it be?
Paul ends this letter by giving some final instructions to the church in Thessaloniki. It’s advice about living well in community with one another, working hard and to be good and kind to one another. But it’s more than that, it’s also advice about how to live in faith. Paul tells them to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. I don’t know about you, but there have been lots of times in my life when I haven’t been joyful or thankful and it is easy to forget to pray. It’s far easier to be grumpy and to keep trying to make things better by myself and in my own strength.
But it’s still good advice and something to aim for. And it completely changes our perspective. Because when we pray, we start to change and to see things as God sees them. Recently I had an argument with someone because I felt they weren’t listening to me. I spoke to them about it and it made me see things from their perspective rather than just how unfair everything seemed to me. Even in the darkest moments, there is always something we can be thankful for, and somehow when we’re thankful about things, the bad things just don’t seem so bad.
Paul also says “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire”. This is about letting go of what we want God to do in us, and let him work in and through our lives without getting in the way. Sometimes it might be about stopping doing the things that pour water on the flames – maybe a persistent sin or bad habit that is wrecking our relationship with him. Fire purifies, and when it burns it is virtually impossible to control. Let’s be people who aren’t trying to control God, but who are letting him control us, letting him purify us and make us holy.
Lord God, help me be the person you want me to be. Help me let you work through your Spirit in my life. Help me be thankful for all that I am and have. Burn like a fire in my life today. Amen.
Is there anything God is prompting you to do or not do after reading this passage? Why not pray about it or find a trusted friend to talk it through with and encourage each other with it.