One of the things I like about the church we've been attending on Sundays is that the pastor isn't one of those people who makes statements about the bible as though they are definitive facts - or that his understanding is the only possible understanding. Not that there aren't facts in the bible, but many people seem to claim certain truths that, really, are nothing more than educated guesses.
At any rate, this past Sunday the message was on the last part of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and into chapter 5. Verses 12-22 of chapter 5 weren't really the bulk of the message - we just kind of touched on them at the end - but the speaker said something like, "I know there aren't bullet points in the bible, but if there is anything close to bullet points on what it means to be a Christian, this is about as close as it gets." I would tend to agree.
Here is 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 in the New Living Translation:
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
Our challenge from this is to pray this each day:
TODAY I WILL...
- Honor my spiritual leaders
- Live peacefully
- Not be lazy
- Encourage the timid
- Take care of the weak
- Be patient
- Be joyful
- Never stop praying
- Be thankful in all circumstances
- Not scoff at prophecies
- Test everything
- Hold on to what is good
- Stay away from evil
Again, I like that. While I don't believe it is prescriptive, it is a very good description of what a Christ-like life should include. I am going to try to pray it each day for awhile. God knows I could be better at just about every one of them.