“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 HCSB
In our Bible reading recently we read of the dramatic highs and lows of Holy Week, beginning with Jesus coming into Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey with adoring crowds shouting, “Hosanna!” The week’s lowest point was the sham trial and execution of Jesus on the cross at Calvary. Then, just when all seemed lost, He arose to live forevermore!
Our Christian walk can be like that week sometimes—immense highs and bottomless lows. We spend time with fellow believers laughing and enjoying each other’s company and we feel “on fire” for the Lord. Then, we find ourselves thoroughly discouraged when we are alone with our thoughts and failures. It seems like a never-ending cycle.
Paul writes to his friends in Thessalonica because they also were discouraged in their Christian walk. Paul encourages them to persevere because they live in the light of Jesus who is coming back again to take them to be with Him forever. Jesus promises to go to prepare a place for us and then to come back and take us to be with Him. (John 14:1-3)
How does knowing that Jesus is coming again affect my life today? What does this mean to my life here in the USA in 2013? The Bible speaks to this idea again and again. In the next few verses Paul tells the believers to encourage each other, especially their leaders and to esteem them highly in love, to be at peace among themselves, warn the lazy, comfort the discouraged, and be patience with everyone, pursuing the best for each other. Paul gives a few short sentences to encourage us: rejoice always; pray constantly; give thanks in everything; don’t stifle the Holy Spirit; don’t despise prophecies (preaching), test everything, hold to the good, and stay away from all kinds of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22) Good advice for today.
We Christians live with hope. Our Hope is spelled with a capital H because that Hope is Jesus Christ. We live in His presence, with the Holy Spirit in our lives, encouraging us, guiding us, teaching us, reminding us of all that the Lord Jesus has said. And, He reminds us that He is coming again. These days are just a short time compared to all eternity with Jesus.
So, we live our Christian walk as a testimony to the Hope that is Jesus. We live with more purpose, seeking to help those in need, bringing praise to our Savior in all we do.
How will you live differently today with the Hope that lives in you? There is joy in our walk with the Lord because He is with us, no matter what comes our way.
By Carol McLaren