Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica concerning the coming day of the Lord. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3). As saints, we are not in darkness, so that this day would come without us being aware. We are children of the light and of the day, so we do not sleep as others do. We remain watchful and sober, wearing the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope and salvation.
Christ died for us, so that whether we live or die, we will be with Him. Paul further exhorted the brethren, to have respect for those who have authority over them. “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (I Thessalonians 5:14). Paul warned that no one should repay evil with evil, but pursue what is good for ourselves and for others. He then said that we should always be joyful, pray always and give thanks in everything. This is because it is the will of God for us to be thankful. Paul also exhorted that we do not quench the Holy Spirit and do not despise the gift of prophecy.
We have a duty to test everything, hold unto what is good and stay away from everything that is evil. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23). Paul’s instructions to be joyful and thankful always, seems like a difficult task. Is it possible to remain joyful and grateful amidst trials, testing and difficulties? I suppose the idea is that as long as we are alive, there is something to be grateful for. The joy which Paul made reference to, is the everlasting joy which we have when we are in right standing with God. This joy assures us of our hope in God and our plan for an eternal destination with him.
Things in this earth are temporal and will one day pass away. What we do for Christ will last into eternity and real joy comes from doing what God has created us to do. Gratitude is said to be one of the most powerful human emotions, which reduces stress and anxiety. Gratitude takes our eyes off our problems and focuses them on our blessings. Many theories suggests that when we focus on the positives, it produces more positives. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you” (Proverbs 23:7). Let us determine in this week and every other week, that we will maintain a heart of gratitude and rejoicing. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)!