In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24, Paul gives seven keys to make sure we are spiritually healthy before we can help someone else:
- Vs. 14b – BE PATIENT: Notice that Paul says that they need to be patient “with all”. The goal of helping someone is ultimately to see them grow in the Lord. The most important trait that you can possess in order to be a part of this change in someone else is patience. Now, we all have a tendency to test each other’s patience from time to time, so before we go deal with someone else, we better deal with ourselves.
- Vs. 15 – WATCH YOUR MOTIVES: Paul says that they are not to render evil for evil. When you are dealing with someone that has done something wrong to you, make sure that you don’t repay them with unkindness. Instead, Paul says that we need to act in a way that pursues good for the both of us. It’s very easy to be biblically correct in a particular situation yet behave wrongly.
- Vs. 16 – BE FULL OF JOY: The only way this can truly be accomplished is from having a heavenly perspective. What you are dealing with is God working out His Son’s glory in us! When dealing with another person, try to smile and make sure that your heart is focused on the eternal perspective and not on the immediate circumstance.
- Vs. 17 – PRAY CONTINUALLY: Be constantly in prayer. The word “without ceasing” is used in the original Greek language to describe a strong, persistent cough that is not always audible. This is to mean that we are to be praying in our heart throughout the situation. The important person to be praying for is you is not always another person.
- Vs. 18 – GIVE THANKS IN EVERYTHING: Notice that it does not say “for” everything. Paul chooses to say here that a thankful heart in the midst of every situation is God’s will for you. You cannot thank God “for” the situation but you sure can thank Him “in” the situation because you know Him. Friends, we must always interpret our situation based upon who God is and not Who God ISN’T because of our situation.
- Vs. 19-21 – HOLD ON TO THE WORD: These words were written before the Bible was complete. In fact, the letter to the church in Thessalonica that we are reading became part of the Bible. They were not to quench the working of the Word of God through the Spirit of God. Instead they are told to hold strongly to that which is good.
- Vs. 22-24 – BE HOLY: Paul tells them to avoid anything that can be called unholy. In verse 23 he goes on to say in this prayer that it is God who is the One that has set us apart for His pleasure and His ultimate end is to preserve us as blameless until we see Him face to face.
I don’t know about you but trying to keep myself spiritually healthy before I can help someone else is a full time job!