STEADY AS YOU GO
Light of the World, shine in my heart so that others may see who you are, and give you glory.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 5:1–11
The Day of the Lord
5 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?’1
I’m intrigued by the behavior of some motorists on a stretch of road near where I live. They speed where there are no speed cameras, slow down to pass the camera, and then speed up again. I wonder, if the cameras were hidden, if the bad drivers would be caught and others encouraged to comply with the speed limit consistently. Paul might be unfamiliar with this illustration, but he would definitely understand the psychology behind it. He resists any pressure to speculate about specific ‘times and dates’ of the day of judgment (v. 1), observing that the day of the Lord (like a hidden camera) will arrive unexpectedly, as Jesus made clear in his own teaching.2 Unbelievers (like speeding drivers) might assume that the system doesn’t apply to them, but they will certainly be caught (v. 3). On the other hand, believers, like the Thessalonians, need not worry about being caught out. They are children of light, chosen not to ‘suffer wrath’ but to ‘receive salvation’ through Jesus Christ (v. 9). Their whole lives are preparation for the final day, as they walk in accordance with their calling. They are like the consistently careful drivers.
There is both encouragement and challenge for us in Paul’s message. Whatever our circumstances or however we feel, we can have confidence that we do not ‘belong to the night’ (v. 5), but to Christ. He has saved you—and that’s a fact! But there’s also a challenge. Does the whole of your life reflect your identity as a child of light, or are there parts which lurk in the shadows, lacking in faith, love, or hope? Take heart: according to Paul, we can ‘put on’ these virtues that are our spiritual inheritance, just as a soldier ‘puts on’ a breastplate or helmet (see v. 8). What do you need to put on today?
Imagine this is your last day, week, or month of life. How might knowing this change how you live?
Father, show me where darkness still reigns in my life. Help me to turn from it and live instead in the light of Jesus.
1 Ps 27:1 2 Matt 24:36; Mark 13:32
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