Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5
If you’ve been through school, then I’m sure you had some end-rush moments in an exam hall. You know that moment when the invigilator announces that you have five minutes to go and there are suddenly like thirty-two brilliant points flying in your head. You seem to just be scribbling it all out as quickly as you possibly can. Who cares about his handwriting being neat anymore, let’s just get the damn (*or insert whatever unprintable pre-Christ word that you use) ink on the paper! You almost even wish your script can record a voice note.
Then shouldn’t we be able to relate with Paul?
Our reading today is the last chapter of the first book Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica. He’s in a closing out moment and I feel like the Apostle still had like three hundred things to mention to his dearly beloved disciples. Do you notice that he had already written ‘finally then, brethren…’ at the start of the fourth chapter? Now, one chapter later, he’s still trying to unpack all that’s on his heart.
You’ve got to feel for Paul! He’s writing today about the second coming of the Lord, then trying to encourage good works and right living among the Christians, then asking for leaders to be recognized and esteemed and trying to present the gospel message, all in the same thought line. It then gets even more intense as he gets to the closing verses. He then begins to shoot his thoughts like bullets: rejoice, give thanks … And he’s saying all that along with instructions to test various spirits, requesting for prayers, encouraging the holy kiss, and a lot more.
Quite a lot!
But if you can hear Paul’s heart, there’s a very interesting and powerful theme that seems to summarize everything he’s saying in our reading today.
One of the earliest instructions I received while I was learning tennis fast became a life principle for me: ‘Never be flat-footed!’ Every time, every shot, every moment.
And I think that’s exactly what Paul is throwing at the Thessalonians: You’ve got to live your life on the front foot, not the lazy, laid back foot!
There’s an urgency we must constantly be embracing and re-embracing about our lives and living.
Do you ever feel like life sometimes gets heavy and discouraging or overwhelming? Do you ever feel like you have enough reason and justification to cave in and just allow the waters to roll over your head?
I feel that way sometimes too. But as I read Paul’s words, I realize I really don’t have any genuine excuse not to be on the front foot!
I can almost feel the weight of the push in his words:
Being Christian is not in any way a license to be lazy or passive about your life! I think that deserves a restating: Being Christian is not in any way a license to be lazy or passive about your life!
I believe that we are called to live with a righteous spark and a God-fueled audacity that propels us to the front foot. God’s intention for us is a front-foot life and living that touches all areas of our lives. Can you hear Paul almost trying to mention everything in the closing out moments?
Front foot, guys! Don’t be caught flat-footed: In prayer, in living, in submission, in rejoicing, in thankfulness, in guarding yourself, in discernment, in expectation, and so on.
Never on the flat foot. Every single day, every single time, and every single moment…
In conclusion, can I encourage you that you can’t afford to see this as the fresh demand that you must be strong in yourself to live up to. It’s so beautiful a picture when you realize that Paul starts out our reading today with the strong reminder about our Saviour Jesus’ imminent return and the hope we have in Him. It is that hope that fuels the response of urgency and passion and intensity that we hold.
In simple terms, it is because of the hope that we have in Jesus that every today can be lived to the fullest!
Think about that for a moment: it is because of all Jesus has already finished that you have the mandate to start today. It is in the hope that he is coming again that you are going again into another day. Of course, your attitude and passion should be on the front foot! Of course, you should have a spark today.
Being Christian is not in any way a license to be lazy or passive about your life! Every day might not be the best of days, but because of Jesus, it deserves the best of you. We’re the called and chosen, not the cold and frozen!
Something To Pray
Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord keeping your passion towards him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him
Romans 12:11 TPT
Pray for that boiling hot passion and glow of the Holy Spirit to be your reality today.