“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted,
help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
1 Thess. 5:14; NASB
It is impossible to live a life without making mistakes. It also seems impossible to see a mistake before you make it, although at times we might think we “see it coming.” These four things Paul is telling us to do are all about holding each other accountable. If you are insecure or overly prideful, it might be irritating to have someone around who sees things about you that you don’t and is willing to tell you about them. But having one or more people in your life who care enough to hold you accountable is a true blessing. Let’s take a closer look at how Paul suggests we do it.
First, he says to “admonish the unruly”, which can also be translated “gently warn the undisciplined.” When someone you know shows signs of laziness or has no ambition, it might help them to be told how wrong that laziness is and how it will affect their life in the future. If they do not respond, or respond unkindly, Paul has another suggestion: “… keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life…” (2 Thess. 3:6).
Second, he tells us to “encourage the fainthearted.” How might you do that? There is an Old Testament passage where God speaks to Israel through Isaiah saying: “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘take courage, fear not… He will save you” (Isa. 35:3-4). There is a wealth of encouragement in Scripture. Yes, there is death and destruction, but for those who believe, there is life and hope in Jesus Christ.
The third item is to “help the weak.” We all have times of weakness and it is ridiculous to try to pretend that we don’t. Paul tells us: “… I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9b). He also says: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of
passing judgment on his opinions” (Rom. 14:1). Helping someone through a time of weakness can literally save their lives. You must do this prayerfully to give the kind of help the Lord intends for them, and to know when to stop helping and let them do it on their own (with God’s help).
Lastly, we’re told to “be patient with everyone.” Patience is a demonstration of love. Scripture says: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant” (1 Cor. 13:4). When someone you know is having a rough time, give them room to breathe as they work through it and be patient when they are not showing their best side. Let them know you are close by to help in any way you can.
God’s promise is that if we believe in His Son, we will have everlasting life in Him. It will be a life with no sin, no hardship, and no pain. He did not promise there would be no heartbreak, disappointment, or trials while in this life. The good news is, through the Holy Spirit in us, we can have peace and joy through all that this life can throw at us. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that truth.
Have a great week and God bless.
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