Enduring… Together (Reprise)

The next few verses in this closing section of 1 Thessalonians 5 (vv. 16-22) contains what may be the most familiar verses of this letter to many of us. Here we are reminded of how we press on as family in the midst of a crazy, controversial, and contentious world.

This text is comprised of a series of very short, concise statements that have been preached, taught, memorized, and cited over and over and over again:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 These 5.16-22).

He urges us to rejoice. I have come to understand that joy is the awareness or consciousness of grace. To rejoice, then, is to stir up our awareness of God’s grace, to take joy once again. And Paul calls us to do so always. We ought always to be conscious of God’s great grace toward us.

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