1Thessalonians 5:13-15 (the message)
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.
Wow! Who says the Bible isn’t relevant?!
Paul is instructing the believers at the church in Thessalonica. So practical! So real! My thought this morning: perhaps you are the one straggling behind or exhausted. Who hasn’t been there? If that is you as you read this post, allow someone around you to encourage you. Take the hand of the person God sends to help pull you to your feet. And then, most certainly, as you grow and recover God will use you in someone else’s life.
If you are in a season of stability and strength, let the words of Paul remind you to be patient with others. I really like how this scripture says to be attentive to individual needs. People have needs. Each person we encounter throughout the day has things in their life they are dealing with. We can’t assume that the way they present themselves is truly what their life is like. I am learning to ask Holy Spirit to grow me in wisdom and discernment. Basically, I ask Him to help me see what He sees in people. Help me to hear what He hears in their words. I ask God for an understanding heart. For God to help me see the heart of the person and not just the exterior behavior.
I almost laughed when I read Paul’s instruction to be careful not to snap at each other when we are getting on each other’s nerves! Love it! God is so real with us. He knows, even in the most genuine hearts, there will be times we just plain annoy each other! God’s heart isn’t that we pretend we are perfect robots who never encounter stress or weariness with people, but that we let Him guide our response! It’s summed up beautifully in the last line…Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
Looking for the best in others. Praying, as the Bible commands, for those who persecute and spitefully use us. Not easy things to do. Not things we even want to do! But, if in our pursuit for God’s peace and abundant life we will choose to focus on the best in others and pray for even those that hurt us, God will open our hearts wide with His love. He will take our humble and obedient hearts and work in our circumstances in ways that blow us away…ways that only God can work!
If you are straggling behind, if you are exhausted, perhaps you can hear the heart of God for you today. He wants to help you. He will send others into your life to reach out with His love. He will send you gentle encouragement in various ways. Be ready to let God touch your life. Receive the encouragement. Take hold of the hand reached out. And before you know it, yours will be the hand reaching out to someone else.
Father, I pray this morning as I write for my own heart as well as those that read this post. Give us the eyes to see what you see in others. Give us the ears to hear what you hear in between the words they speak. God, give us discerning, understanding hearts. Truly fill us with your love for individual people. Lord, we are human but as believers we live with your supernatural presence on the inside of us. Wake up our complacent hearts with a longing to build others up…to reach out…to encourage the weary. And Father, for the weary one who reads this post, I pray that you flood them with Your love and presence. Even in this blog post, let them understand that You see them. You love them. Help them to take Your hand. In the name of the One and Only, Jesus.