Mighty God, this is my desire: command and I will obey; overrule and I will yield; lead and I will follow.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“The cause of backsliding is slack abiding” (Bryan Green, 1901-1993). That’s a snappy saying containing a serious truth about our walk with Christ!
Having reassured the Thessalonians about Christians who have fallen asleep in Jesus, Paul tackles a less healthy type of sleeping in the present time. The expectation of the triumphant return of Christ should galvanize Christians, not in seeking to calculate when he might come, but in living holy lives now. Our hope of living with Christ for all eternity should not lessen our current experience of living in fellowship with him. It is the unbeliever who is sleeping in no recognition of the Day of Judgment (6).
Christians may become like sleepy unbelievers if we are not positively living in the light of the coming of Christ. We may take for granted our standing in him and not daily put on self-control, faith, love, and hope to protect us from the insidious attacks of the world around (8). A Christian life that is not positively affirmed and developed may swiftly become one that is falsely regarded as secure and fails miserably when temptation comes. We probably all know people who were once believers but now are either completely outside the Christian community or leading lives that have no cutting edge to them. Decline is much easier than the steady climb to holiness.
Paul’s focus is on the believers’ continuing faithfulness, but he also reminds us of the ignorant continuation in sin of people around us. The collapse of security in money, justice or stable governments should make people aware of how insecure human life can be, but few recognize the insecurity of their own life. It is commonly said that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but we might add that standing before God in judgment is also certain (Rom. 14:12). As Paul has frequently reminded us, we should focus our lives and ask about our priorities and our relationship with him.
Think of those you know who have failed to continue walking with God. Is there someone you should pray for and perhaps contact?
Father, infuse me with self-control. May I have faith in both Your promises and power to see me through. And may the hope of final salvation keep me going.
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