When my daughter was little, I was constantly giving her guidance: “Don’t chew electrical cords,” “Eat your vegetables,” and “Be gentle with the dog.” But I wanted much more for her than to just follow those rules. I wanted her to live a life full of love, joy, and peace.
God thinks of his children the same way. When I think about being obedient to God, my mind immediately goes to the “Big Ten.” But God wants so much more from me than to just follow the Ten Commandments. He wants all of us to live in a world of joy, peace, and close friendships.
- Why do you think it is so important to God that we, as believers, live in harmony with one another?
READ THE WORD: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (ESV)
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
- Who did Paul call the Thessalonians to respect in verses 12-13? On what basis did they deserve this respect?
- List the things that Paul urged the Thessalonians to do for one another in verses 14-15. Based on this Scripture, what are practical ways we can help our brothers and sisters in Christ grow in their spiritual walk?
- Verses 16-22 give us instructions on what it looks like to live in the will of God. List at least three of these instructions. Which of these do you struggle with the most and why?
RESPOND TO GOD
Obedience is one way we worship God. Here, Paul instructs us on how to live this out in our relationships with others and in our own spiritual walk. By respecting our spiritual leaders, edifying our fellow believers, and keeping our eyes on Christ, no matter what is going on around us, we are worshipping God by obeying his commands.
- Pray for a spirit of respect and love for the spiritual leaders in your life.
- Think of three believers you know who could be “fainthearted.” Pray a prayer of encouragement for each of them.
- Ask God for a willingness and strength to submit to his will in the areas in which you struggle.