In the fourth chapter of his letter to the believers in Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul wrote:
…Brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.1 Thessalonians 4:1, ESV
Everyone loves to be encouraged, right? How sweet it must have felt for the Thessalonians to hear from Paul’s letter that they were walking in a manner that was pleasing to God!
Aw… thanks, Paul.
But he wasn’t finished, yet. With a few more strokes of his pen, he writes “do so more and more.”
How easy it is for our joy balloon to be deflated.
For better or for worse, I feel like I do this often for our children. I see that they are doing well, so I encourage them. “Good job!” I also see how there is room for improvement, so I say something like, “You’re doing great, but…” In these moments, it seems that all they hear is whatever comes after the “but”.
Out of love for the Thessalonians, Paul could not resist going beyond the “but”. He encouraged them in what they were already doing, and he encouraged them to keep going and do even more.
Are we able to receive that kind of encouragement?
Does our joy balloon burst when someone suggests that we could be doing better? The reality is that each and every one of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all have room for improvement. God’s not finished with us, yet! The moment we stop believing this is the moment that we stop growing.
I want to keep growing. I NEED to keep growing. I know that I have a long way to go in my desire to look more and more like Jesus.
How about you?
I urge you today in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from the Lord how you ought to walk and to please God—just as I hope you ARE doing, that you do so more and more.
May the LORD bless you today. May He keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you, and give you peace.
You are getting a bit of a double Midweek Worship Connection today. I hope you can handle it.
I wanted to take a moment to share something that is really important. In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul does encourage the followers of Christ to keep walking in what they have received in the LORD. And that is really important. If you are following Jesus, and you have a clear vision for what He has called you to do, walk in it, and walk in it more and more each day.
However, it is worth pointing out that sometimes it can be hard to see that calling, to walk in that calling, and to even have enough strength to take the next right step. I believe that is why Paul said this a little later in his letter to the believers in Thessalonica:
… encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV
The writer of Hebrews said this:
… encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.Hebrews 3:13, CSB
This weekend I was scheduled to travel out of state to speak at a lead worship and preach at a church, as well as train the worship team and train the congregation in evangelism. Sadly, that trip has been canceled due to a terrible tragedy that happened within the congregation. One of the high school students within their congregation, a popular, smart, well-loved student with a bright future ahead of them, tragically chose to end their life earlier this week.
I cannot imagine the heartbreaking pain and confusion that so many within that community must be feeling right now. According to the pastor of the church, “This was the last person you would have ever thought would do something like this.”
With the calling hours happening tomorrow, and the service being held on Friday, I am asking that you join me in praying for this community, for the family, for the church, for the other students. Please join me in praying that God would use this terrible situation and make something beautiful out of it.
What Satan means for evil, God can use for good. I am praying and believing that He will.
I share this story so that you can join me in prayer, but I also share this story as a way of pointing out that we often have no idea what our brothers in sisters, our neighbors and co-workers, our fellow citizens are going through. We could all use a little encouragement.
So why don’t you take a moment to encourage someone today… right now. Pull out your phone, look out your window, search your heart, and take a moment to encourage someone today. You never know how much it could mean for someone to simply hear that they are loved and that they matter.
Let’s build one another up. Let’s refuse to be hardened by sin’s deception. Let’s encourage one another, while it is still called today.
We played this song at the end of last week’s Midweek Worship Connection, but it only seems right to play it again today. No matter how dark this world feels at times, there is hope… and Jesus is His name.