A Christian Checklist
Almighty God, You are the giver of life and all that makes life good. I lift my heart to You, grateful for what You have given me in my life and us in this land.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 5:12–28
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Examine yourselves… test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5).
The text above challenges the Corinthians to test their faith. A passage like today’s reading gives a good basis for this. Paul gives a simple, clear list. Below are some questions formed from the passage. They give us a means to measure how we are doing.
Am I respecting and highly esteeming my Christian leaders (12,13)?
Am I living in unity with my fellow Christians? Am I welcoming and embracing them (13,26)?
Am I caring for other Christians—with patience; admonishing, encouraging or helping them (14)?
Am I responding well to those who harm me? Or am I reacting with aggression? Am I seeking to do good to all I meet (15)?
Do I have a good attitude to worship? Joyfulness? Constancy in prayer? An attitude of gratitude? An openness to the Spirit and the prophetic—while testing everything and holding on to that which is good (16–21, 25)?
Am I living a holy life, abstaining from evil (22)? Am I meditating on Scripture (27)?
Then Paul prays. It is a beautiful prayer, asking for the God of peace to flood the Thessalonians with holiness, that their every part would be blameless. Although there is no explicit mention of the Holy Spirit, this is a prayer that God’s Spirit would fill them, transform them and immunize them against the many threats of sin around them. In typical Paul style, he then declares his confidence in God’s faithfulness—“He will do it” (24)! He concludes with more prayer—this time that the grace of the true Emperor will be with them. It must be time for us to pray!
Go through the checklist above. Ask: “How am I doing?” Where needed, resolve to live a new way. Be honest! Pray verses 23, 24 and 28 for others, as the Lord leads.
Father, I pray for the wholeness of which Paul speaks: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, volitionally and relationally. Only my cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work in me will bring this to pass. Lord, I trust You and surrender to You.