By Joy Murray (Coordinator of Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Virlina District)
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 “…let us be alert and self-controlled.”
1 Thessalonians was written to encourage a rather new congregation (possible around 2 years old). The “day of the Lord” that Paul talks about is Jesus’ second coming that He told them about in John 14:3. Since Jesus ascended into Heaven, people have been anxiously (in a good way), expecting His return and trying to predict when He will come again. Paul is reminding them that this coming will happen unexpectedly. All too well, we understand how our plans for what will happen in the days ahead, may change! God’s ways and timing are not the same as ours (see Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). Paul did not want them (or us) to be caught off guard. When all seems to be going well, it will happen somewhat unexpectedly – as unexpectedly as coming home one night to find a thief at your house (you know it could happen, but you don’t really expect it). Paul warns us to be alert. Be aware of your surroundings and ready to quickly respond. Again, this is something we are becoming accustomed to doing anyway, these days. He urges us to have self-control. Don’t do what you want to do, just because you want to. Have control over your impulses, desires and emotions. We are reminded to trust God and seek His will, and He will lead us. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Choosing to do God’s will instead of your own is self-control. Oftentimes, when someone is going to do something they know is wrong, or shady, they will choose the darkness of night to try to do it, thinking they have less chance of being caught. That is the opposite of how we, as Christians should be acting. We are protected by God’s armor of faith and love and we have as our hope, the helmet of salvation. Jesus died so we can spend eternity with Him. Let’s share this Good News with everyone! Let’s have a strong relationship with God! Let’s encourage and build one another up!
Good News: Jesus wants us to spend eternity with Him, so be ready, alert and self-controlled!
Discussion Question: Think about how you feel when you are preparing for someone special to come and visit. What do you be sure you do or don’t do? How do you prepare for them? Who do you call to let them know about your special visitor? Have you told that person about Jesus? Are you ready for Jesus?
Go one step further: